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Articles Home » 2016 Articles » Defiants, The - 2016 The Defiants
 
Defiants, The - 2016 The Defiants



ARTIST: Defiants, The
ALBUM: The Defiants
LABEL: Frontiers
SERIAL: FRCD 729
YEAR: 2016

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Paul Laine - vocals * Bruno Ravel - bass, guitars, keyboards * Rob Marcello - lead guitars * Van Romaine - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Intro (Carillion's Theme) * 02 Love And Bullets * 03 When The Lights Go Down * 04 Waiting On A Heartbreak * 05 Runaway * 06 Lil' Miss Rock N Roll * 07 Last Kiss * 08 Save Me Tonight * 09 Take Me Back *10 We All Fall * 11 That's When I'll Stop Loving You * 12 Underneath The Stars

RATING:


Background
Many of us are big fans of Danger Danger from way back. They had a certain sound that was part AOR, part melodic hard rock, and all very enjoyable. Bruno Ravel has been with them from the start, Rob Marcello more recently, and Paul Laine for much of the middle. While I personally think Ted Poley is the voice of that band, Paul Laine came in and provided a tougher sound for many years. So when these guys announced that they'd get together for something new, people got excited. Well, my excitement wasn't immediate, as the band name and western theme kinda threw me as to how this might sound. But as soon as I heard the first cut from the album, my expectations were set sky high.


The Songs
The album starts with a brief instrumental that sounds like a music box with some soaring guitar way in the background. This leads to the first proper song 'Love And Bullets'. You better get ready, cause I got news for you - this is an instant classic. This was the first song released a couple of months early, and it set the bar way up there. It has all the ingredients we want from these guys. Things get a bit heavier with 'When The Lights Go Down', another killer track. The second song leaked early is the epic 'Waiting On A Heartbreak', which is a bit breezier in sound. Laine sounds a lot like fellow Canadian Mike Reno here. I have a collection of songs called 'Runaway' that I sometimes put on a workout playlist for my wife to see if she'll notice, so this is another addition. It starts like it could be a Rob Moratti song, but it's really Ravel's young son providing the countoff. It's a fun and poppy song, although it probably should be called 'Run Away' based on the lyrics. It's a song I wish Reckless Love had attempted more often on their latest album. It's getting pretty common these days to have a song that name-drops songs from long ago, and 'Little Miss Rock'n'Roll' is such a song. It's a bluesy swagger that is another fun listen. 'The Last Kiss' takes me back to the debut Bon Jovi album, which happens to be my favorite. The first big lighters-in-the-air song (or cell phones) is 'Save Me Tonight', and this would have been at home on one of the Laine-era D2 albums. Another fun tune is 'Take Me Back', which does - again to that first Bon Jovi album. 'We All Fall Down' is one of those great songs you like to have near the end of an album to prove that they're not just slapping songs on the back end. It's hard to choose favorites from an album this good, but it's one of them. We slow things down again with 'That's When I'll Stop Loving You' before ending on an upbeat note with the fantastic 'Underneath The Stars'.

I will say it took me a little longer than expected to really appreciate this album. Part of that is because 'Love And Bullets' and 'Waiting On A Heartbreak' were so darn good and immediate that my expectations were through the roof. I was a little concerned when the third and fourth early tracks 'Take Me Back' and 'Runaway' didn't grab me the same way on the first listen. And when I got the full album, it took a few listens for the ballads to grow on me. But after a half-dozen listens, all was good. It also took a little longer because of Paul Laine's voice. Don't get me wrong - dude can flat-out sing. His country-rock album two years ago was excellent, and country is an unforgiving genre. He happens to have a very versatile and flexible voice. I just thought some of the songs sounded like 'Paul Laine in the style of ...' on the first few listens, like the songs forced their will on him rather than the other way around. I believe he's someone you could put in front of an 80's cover band and he could adapt his voice to any of the songs. Or you could put him in several of the current bands in this genre and they wouldn't miss a beat. I mentioned that he sounded like Mike Reno in one song. I also hear Don Henley in 'Little Miss Rock'n'Roll', and a few other inflections in other places. I just had to listen to the album a few times to get Paul's voice registered in my brain. I don't want this to sound like a complaint, because I do love his voice.


In Summary
This album has been getting a lot of love by other reviewers, and it certainly deserves it. It's definitely a fun album that would appeal to a lot larger audience than will ever hear it. Lyrically, there's nothing shocking on here - it's pretty standard 80's style rock, something we need more of these days. These guys have been around a while, and they certainly know what they're doing. I fully expect this to end up very high on my 2016 list.


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Comments
#1 | DEMONAOR on April 29 2016 17:00:27
Great album indeed. High up on my list too for the year.
#2 | rkbluez on April 30 2016 22:24:16
Great 80's sstyled rock album with Rob Marchello rippin' it up in fine style...his super tasty and melodic guitarwork alone is reason to buy this.
#3 | reyno-roxx on October 25 2016 17:25:02
Saw them at Rockingham on Sunday. They were utterly fantastic. As well as material from the album they also played songs from Paul Laine era Danger Danger as well as Paul's first solo record. 'We Are The Young' was outstanding.
 
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