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Seven Hard Years: Stories We Tell
Seven Hard Years Stories We Tell CD Album Review

Seven Hard Years: Stories We Tell

Melodic Hard Rock/AOR
4.5/5.0

Riding on his history with notable UK melodic hard rock band Shy, drummer (and multi-instrumentalist) Alan Kelly returns with another Seven Hard Years album, Stories We Tell. Shawn Pelata (ex Line Of Fire) remains on vocals and, as in the past, contributions to lead guitar work come from some substantial guests. These include Dave Martin (Marshall Law), Pete Fry (Farcry), Calle Hammer (Houston), Danny Beardsley (Emperor Chung), with Eliot Kelly (Alan's son) and Paul Kelly (his brother).

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As for the music, given Kelly's history, Seven Hard Years delivers classic melodic hard rock in an AOR wrapper. It's Eighties deja vu, all over again. Kelly, Pelata, and friends don't reinvent the wheel by any means. Rather they strengthen and embellish the fundamentals. At the heart of their tunes are harmony, melody, and groove, the essentials. Then they twist these elements to craft songs with catchy melodies, equally engaging refrains, crisp riffs, and vibrant guitar solos. Pelata's clean melodic vocals stand tall whatever the occasion, songs with stronger riffs and presence like I'll Survive or Driving Me Crazy or something slightly more subtle like Only Human and Wasn't Always Like This.

Which leads to a curious observation. There may be those songs with more subdued moments, but most everything here are straight up rockers. Only Human is probably the lightest song, but I'm not sure it qualifies as a ballad. Alternatively, Kelly and Pelata take the otherwise rockin' tune Driving Me Crazy and turn into an acoustic psuedo-ballad in duet, Pelata singing with Robyn Kelly (another relative?). But even this song, after the middle, returns to heavier rocker.

Fundamentally, with the significant experience and talent from Alan Kelly, Shawn Pelata, and their contributing friends, Seven Hard Years delivers more polished and entertaining AOR melodic hard rock, and Stories We Tell is easily recommended.

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The Bottom Line

With the significant experience and talent from Alan Kelly, Shawn Pelata, and their contributing friends, Seven Hard Years delivers more polished and entertaining AOR melodic hard rock, and Stories We Tell is easily recommended.

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