Stoked! Excited! Surprised! Summer is on its way and here is a peach of an album to drive(sic), jog and generally live with during the heat and the sunlight. Drive, She Said have produced a masterclass in hard rock, which takes the listener all the way back to the Eighties Hair Metal era and gives it a modern sheen with a production that lets the great songs come alive.
Originally formed in 1986 by former American Tears, Touch, and Michael Bolton keyboard player Mark Mangold, together with singer Al Fritsch, Drive, She Said released three successful albums before taking a hiatus. Resurrected at the end of the 90’s, two more albums came before now coming back yet again with an amazing AOR/Melodic Rock album in the style of greats like Bon Jovi, Foreigner, and Journey…Oh yes!
The Bon Jovi-like “Touched” opens proceedings and I am transported back to 1986 and Slippery When Wet – 30 years gone and I feel like a teenage mutt again. It has the feel of great songs from that album, with a chorus a bit like Belinda Carlisle‘s “Heaven Is A Place On Earth“. The guitar work is top of the game and the keyboards are very AOR-friendly. I don’t care that this type of music is not original, the enthusiasm and freshness of the album is truly infectious.
“Pedal To The Metal” strikes out like prime Van Hagar, Fritsch sounding very much like Sammy duking it out with Steve Perry. The backing vocals eat away at your hearing and I love the keyboard swells, fills, and solos. This is where the Journey similarities also punch you in the face.
A classic Eighties intro ushers in “In ‘R Blood” and modern day Foreigner seems to blast out the speakers. The chorus then grabs at other AOR heroes such as FM or even the Shy boys. Oh, I am like a pig in poo…This is where all guilty pleasures become a bit less guilt and more tennis racquet air guitar. So damn catchy. And the guitar solo sounds as if Ritchie Sambora was guesting. It really is that great.
There are ballads, such as “Said It All” which will make all you rockers reach for your lighters (um, maybe your phones these days). There are other massive rockers, such as “Lost In You” and there are more original songs such as the amazing Euro-pop of “I Am The Nyte“. The latter song could have been written by Euro DJs such as David Guetta, but don’t hold it against the Drive, She Said guys.
The high for me on this collection is the song “Rainbows And Hurricanes“, which is almost perfect. The gentle opening bleeds into an emotional rollercoaster and lets rip into a chorus that blows me away…Love it!
If you want to feel young again (for all those of a certain age), this album will have you wishing you had that perm and those drainpipe jeans…Great music to usher in Summer…Go get it and have your own hot tub time machine!