I live and die for my music, from speed/thrash metal, to 80’s glam, to death metal, to melodic hard rock/AOR. It courses through my veins like the lifeblood it is. And even though extreme stuff has been in heavy rotation a lot lately, there are those times when a melodic rock album catches you just the right way on just the right day. Yesterday at work was one of those times when I pressed PLAY on vocalist TED POLEY’S new solo album Beyond the Fade (May 13, Frontiers Music), his first since 2007’s Smile. The players assembled are all stellar, and the songs written by the brothers Tom and James Martin (VEGA) simply leap out of your speakers.
As soon as the first track “Let’s Start Something” errrr, started, I knew I picked a good one to kick off the work day. Much like labelmate ISSA’S (who somehow figures into this story later) anthem “Crossfire” this is the song you want blaring in the car after you clock out on a sunny Friday afternoon and have a weekend full of cold beer and endless possibilities staring you in the face. Guitarist Mario Percudani captures that feeling beautifully with his big riffs and you can taste it in his solos here. The keys and drums are expertly played by producer extraordinaire Alessandro Del Vecchio and the whole thing sounds stadium ready. Anna Portalupi’s bass lines are thick and right up front where they should be as well.
The upbeat vibe continues with “Everything We Are” and that arena rock sound is right there on “Hands of Love”. If this were 1987 and Dial MTV were still around this one would be burning up the request lines, guaranteed. Del Vecchio’s keys anchor the longing feel of “The Perfect Crime”, a duet between Poley and ISSA where the two voices complement each other perfectly. It’s no secret what a huge fan I am of hers, so hearing that unmistakable voice made my day and this album even better. “Stars” is another anthemic tune that will have people all over the world scrambling for the REPEAT button quick two-time, maybe even three-time!!
At this point I have to comment on just how terrific Poley sounds. I first fell in love with his voice back on DANGER DANGER’S debut album with tracks like “Rock America”, “Don’t Walk Away”, “Feels Like Love”, and “One Step From Paradise” and hearing all these new compositions made me smile not just because of the great memories of the past, but knowing that the man’s still got it in spades. “Higher” is a great example of what I’m on about, as is “Where I Lost You”. The hooks and pre-choruses of “You Won’t See Me Cryin’” loom large while “We Are Young” is a bit more subtle while evoking images of a simpler and quite frankly a better time in music.
For all the fitness enthusiasts out there “Sirens” should be on your running/lifting/whatever you’re into playlists immediately, if not sooner. With a hearty dose of get-up-and-go it truly sounds like all the band members are having a blast, and Percudani’s solo takes off like a rocket, making this my favorite on the disc alongside the opener. Closing things out is “Beneath the Stars” which is a complete change of pace, but the keys, bass, guitars, and the almost tribal drums build toward something special.
All told Ted Poley and Co. did an excellent job on Beyond the Fade and this is one I’ll be blaring on the deck all summer while I grill, drink beer, and throw back shots with my friends. If you want a feel-good rock album ready made for partying, then this is it, guys. Grab yours on May 13 and enjoy!
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Let’s Start Something”, “Sirens”, “Higher”, “The Perfect Crime”, “Stars”