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Signal Red is a brand new band from the UK. They feature two very respected musicians, namely guitarist Steve Grocott (Ten) and Vocalist Lee Small (Phenomena / Shy / Lionheart). The collaboration first came together in February 2013, when Steve was at a loose end. He had been in a band previously called Sevendayz. They had had recently folded and he contacted Lee. He had heard so much about him, mainly from the self-titled Shy album that appeared in 2011. The two hit it off straight away and it seemed inevitable that an album would follow.
However, Steve got caught up working with the UK band Ten. Gary Hughes asked him to be in the band’s line-up for some shows and to feature on the new album. Therefore, the Signal Red production was halted for a while. Eventually, Steve’s time freed up so he could once again concentrate on new material for the album. The whole thing progressed into Under the Radar, which is out on Escape Music.
The collaboration with Lee was clearly a good match. Lee had already proved his worth with Shy as well as on solo albums, the Phenomena project with Tom Galley and the rock band Snowfall. Lee is a very soulful, melodic vocalist and has featured on 17 albums as lead vocalist. He was on many more, featuring him as a guest, Dante Fox and Magnum to name but two.
To complete the line-up are bassist Brian J Anthony, who has worked with Steve Walsh, and Dave Anthony on drums, who has worked with Dennis De Young.
Under the Radar
With such a pedigree this album promises so much, especially as Lee Small has the perfect voice for great AOR. His latest run-out, with Lionheart on August 2017’s Second Nature, proved to be an enjoyable affair.
Unfortunately, Under the Radar fails to reach any noteworthy heights. It has its moments such as the rocking opener, “Defiant”, and the almost-metal “Pyramids of Mars”. Sadly, it feels like there is a lot of going through the motions and so much of it sounds a bit too generic.
Disappointingly, too, is the lack of any solo on “Tell It To The Bees”, the bedrock on which any rock is built.
Keyboards are the main driver on Under the Radar. This is, of course, expected in the genre, but it is to the detriment of the guitar work which could bring so much more to the party.
Whilst I still have faith in the guys and the genre, I feel they need to up their game in the songwriting and arrangement departments in the hope they may come back harder and stronger.
That is, of course, just one man’s opinion. Therefore, make your own mind up and, if you fancy buying Under the Radar, follow the link below.