For their fourth album, Fourplay, Talon has returned to the first, welcoming back Michael O’Mara to the microphone. Whether it's this change or not, this album is likely Talon's best effort to date. While Talon continues to have AOR in their collective soul, this album shows they have some real hard rock fire in their belly.
You get this from the start. Spun, Sin City Sister, and Holly Would are flat out toe-tapping rockers with thick riffs, blistering groove, and ripping guitar solos. These, in turn, are wrapped up in harmonious vocal arrangements and infectious melody. Talon makes no apologies for it's roots in Eighties melodic hard rock, and Holly Would throws you back with its inherent sleaze factor thrown in. And it's so damn catchy.
But that simple word probably characterizes the breadth of this album. Whether by melody, arrangement, or lyrics with memorable refrains, Talon works their AOR melodic hard rock wizardry. Set Me Free does this with mostly with the vocals and lyrics, but also the deliberate rhythm that moves the song. Another example is It's A Fine Line Between Love and Lust, where the initial sharp riff lead to this smooth progression of vocal and instrumental melody. Then the chorus kicks in, propelled by that groove, and you can't help but sing along.
Alternatively, but not conversely, Talon reveals some of their heavier hard rock side as well. Love Is Like A Drug to Me has all the melodic flair, but it's moved by some heavy riffs. More so is Evil, likely the heaviest song here, thanks to thick riffs, rumbling drums, and near power metal pace. On the other side of this coin, that AOR soul finds a place in the anthemic ballad Tonight. Yet even this song rises louder in the latter half with a mean guitar solo. Later Raise 'em High also offers a smooth, generally lighter, sound, moved by the lyrics and vocal melody, with the guitar riffs not far behind.
Perhaps the wild card in all this is the finisher, There Ain't Nothin' in the World Like A Rockin' Band. Moved at the start by some acoustic blues guitar, the tune quickly develops into this thumping hard rock number. A song, like all the others here, with the glorious mixture of all those proper elements that make classic melodic rock, well, classic and entertaining. The song is also a not so subtle jab at soulless state of contemporary music.
As you can tell, I was rather largely impressed by Fourplay: simply, classic AOR melodic hard rock well-crafted and well-played. Quite recommended.
With the return of vocalist Michael O’Mara and some of their best songwriting to date, Talon delivers a melodic hard rock groove monster with Fourplay.
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