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Articles Home » 2014 Articles » Night Ranger - 2014 High Road
Night Ranger - 2014 High Road

ARTIST: Night Ranger
ALBUM: High Road
LABEL: Frontiers
YEAR: 2014
SPONSOR: Frontiers Haulix Portal


LINEUP: Jack Blades - bass, guitar, vocals * Kelly Keagy - drums, percussion, vocals * Brad Gillis - lead & rhythm guitars, backing vocals * Joel Hoekstra - lead & rhythm guitars, backing vocals * Eric Levy - keyboards, backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 High Road * 02 Knock Knock Never Stop * 03 Rollin' On * 04 Don't Live Here Anymore * 05 I'm Coming Home * 06 X Generation * 07 Only For You Only * 08 Hang On * 09 St Bartholomews * 10 Brothers * 11 L.A No Name (bonus)



Though this great San Francisco band may be heading into the twilight of their career, they are not quite finished with yet. The figurative high road for Night Ranger may have been achieved some three decades ago, but they are still capable of creating some worthwhile melodic rock. We've reviewed the last couple of Frontiers releases from the band ('Somewhere In California' and '24 Strings And A Drummer - Live And Acoustic') and came away with some good opinions and reports about those. So it's only natural we follow this pair up with a look and listen of 'High Road'.

The Songs
Night Ranger's hooky brand of melodic rock kicks in immediately on the title track 'High Road'. This is the sort of music created upon years worth of performing by a real band, and not some short-term accidental creation borne of a project/studio situation. It also has real distinguishable guitar solos that fans of the band can immediately relate to. The song-title 'Knock Knock Never Stop' is a bit of a giveaway, as the song is very upbeat, and rollicks along with the usual NR bag of tricks in tow. 'Rollin' On' heavies things up appreciably. It has a bluesy vibe a la Talisman and Whitesnake and chugs along with powerful intent. The band take a breather with the ballad 'Don't Live Here Anymore', before returning to the melodic middle ground of 'I'm Coming Home'. 'X Generation' is delivered with a sense of urgency, whereas 'Only For You Only' reduces the tempo back down to ballad level. I really enjoyed the templated NR sound of 'St Bartholomews', which powers along thanks to the dual guitar lines of Gillis and Hoekstra. 'Brothers' is a radio friendly part-ballad part-mid-rocker; it's a bit of everything really, sing-along in parts, it could be a song to sing at parties. It winds the album down well. We're not quite finished yet. The album is rounded out with a bonus acoustic instrumental 'LA No Name', reminding me of those instrumental excerpts that Triumph used to do. A neat way to finally finish up.

In Summary
As always, there's a high element of energy and anthemic rock on a Night Ranger album, and you won't be short-changed here. For me, it's great that this band have moved on from those uncertain times of the 90's, and recaptured their 80's legacy with gusto. The band have since lost guitarist Joel Hoekstra to Whitesnake, and have bought in Kerri Kelli (ex Big Bang Babies, Pretty Boy Floyd) as his permanent replacement. Jack Blades will be seen shortly with promising new trio Revolution Saints, but don't expect Night Ranger to be taking the low road anytime soon.

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#1 | jeffrey343 on January 24 2015 20:34:20
Not sure how I missed this review back in September - I was contemplating reviewing it myself. And I would most likely have rated it similarly. Like 'Somewhere In Californina' three years prior, it is a good album by one of the legacy bands. There are a few songs that are up there with their best over the years. Alas, those are early in the album. 'Knock Knock Never Stop' in particular would have fit on any of their early albums. I think the album wanes a bit towards the end, but only in the sense that I tend to either restart it at the beginning or move on when I don't make it through the entire album in one sitting. The ending instrumental is a nice touch.
#2 | Jez on February 02 2016 13:12:15
Pretty much the same, familiar Night Ranger formula as previously, with a slight modern edge, tight production and some excellent guitar interplay between Gillis and Hoekstra. Great 'Retro' artwork too.
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