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Hess: Living in Yesterday

Harry Hess has, rather like Tyketto's Danny Vaughn, achieved a kind of God like status amongst the melodic rock scene mainly as a result of his membership of the band Harem Scarem. Now, I have to say that Harem Scarem have never really done it for me at all but Living in Yesterday is a fine album of modern pop music. With contributions from the likes of Howie Simon, Magnus Karlsson, Chris Green, Tommy Denander, Marcie Free, Darren Smith as well as former Harem Scarem man Pete Lesperance and sticksman Creighton Doane, Hess has created an album that just begs to be played on the radio and if radio stations don't want to play anything by Hess then artists like Katy Perry, Kelly Clarkson and Pink would do well to have a listen to many of the songs contained within this album.

There are a number of potential hits on Living in Yesterday such as the ballad "It's Over" or the Tommy Denander co-write "I Don't Wanna Want You" which just screams, "hit single." This album sounds great and clocking in at thirty-nine minutes long it doesn't outstay its welcome unlike so many stodgy records these days.

Track Listing:
  1. Living In Yesterday
  2. Reach For You
  3. It's Over
  4. Don't Leave Me
  5. What If
  6. Nothing Lasts Forever
  7. Falling Down
  8. I Live For You
  9. I Don't Wanna Want You
  10. Where To Run

Added: October 5th 2012
Reviewer: Simon Bray
Related Link: Artist Website
Hits: 2326
Language: english

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Hess: Living in Yesterday
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2012-10-05 16:03:36
My Score:

With Harem Scarem going through another period of inactivity, it is no real surprise to find their frontman and keyboard/guitar player Harry Hess once more ploughing the solo furrow. This time with his second stand alone effort Living In Yesterday. An album sure to soothe the fever of any lover of ultra-smooth melodic rock who also has a secret penchant for modern day pop music and westcoast smooch.

Hess is an extremely fine vocalist and with his talents as a songwriter and producer in ever greater demand, his skills are never in question here. However for me and for many, Living In Yesterday falls into the current AOR trap of sounding like a boy band with a guitar riff. On the plus side, if you are looking for huge layered choruses, massive keyboard melodies and mid-paced rock that talks of love and relationships, then this is an album you will adore. There are a few chunkier riffs on occasion, and much of what is presented does remind of say Def Leppard, but of the Leppard that croons and schmaltzes its way through string laden ballads and heartfelt acoustic rock. Never bad, but as you work your way through Living In Yesterday, there's a feeling that these songs should be used to break up a rockier album with a bit more push and shove about it.

That all said, having people such as Marcie Free, Magnus Karlsson and guitar for hire Tommy Denander involved, certainly assures that the performances are top notch. The likes of the super bouncy "Nothing Lasts Forever" comes across all US teen-comedy theme tune. Upbeat in the extreme, bright, cheery and grinning maniacally. While "I Live For You" adds a tinge more grit to proceedings, although in a mid-paced melodic kinda fashion. Add to that "It's Over", where John Elefante is brought to mind, or the atmospheric, dreamy "Where To Run" and in truth I can't pick out a bad song. However start at track one and work through to number ten and the overriding feeling is of sameness. Classy, well presented sameness mind, but sameness nonetheless.

If Harry Hess has tugged your heartstrings before, then don't let my lukewarmness put you off, you'll, as many would appear to be doing, adore this album. However if you need a spark of energy and force behind your melodic rock, then there's no getting away from the feeling that you'll be slightly underwhelmed.

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