Fair Warning: Sundancer
With an album title which harks back to their classic 1995 Rainmaker release, German hard rock outfit Fair Warning return with their first offering in four years, Sundancer. So what's changed since 2009's Aura? Truth be told not a lot, but when you are dealing with one of the most consistent MHR acts from the past few decades, that's no bad thing. To the band's credit they've also maintained a particularly steady line-up over the years, something which goes a long way to explaining why they've achieved such a strong signature sound.
Any German band in this vein are going to at some point be touched by the likes of the Scorpions, but in reality it is bands in the style of Bonfire who Fair Warning remind of, something repeated in fine style on Sundancer. The soul of the band comes in the form of guitarist Helge Enkle and singer Tommy Heart (Soul Doctor) who between them create a cool mix of gritty, super smooth and ultra-catchy little packages that prime time pre-ballads Foreigner would have been more than happy to call their own. The contributions of bassist Ule W. Rigen and drummer CC Behrens can't be underestimated, both being solid as a rock on this album and both illustrating perfectly the importance of having a tight, unfussy, yet talented rhythm section to hit songs home.
"Troubled Love" isn't the most inspiring of openers, stumbling unconvincingly around on a mid-paced stomp that fails to reside in the memory as it should. Heart belts out the words with enough power and verve, but cluttering choir backing vocals and a parping keyboard stops the song from gaining any real momentum. However from there things improve greatly, "Keep It In The Dark" adding the strutting arrogance the first song lacked. Heart gives it his all once more, but this time the effect is twice as captivating due to the energetic backing he receives. "Hit And Run" proves that Fair Warning still have the formula to produce a striking middle tempo composition, while "Man In The Mirror" adds a little Tyketto up and at 'em romp 'n' roll. The whooping holler of "Cool" grooves massively and "How Does It Feel" adds a Whitesnake like bluesy pomp. However it isn't all quite plain sailing, with "Get Real" sounding a little tired and "Send Me A Dream" almost feeling like it has the words of another song squeezed into it, being cluttered and cumbersome. That said two or three missed steps out of 14 (15 if you get the digi-pack) isn't a bad strike rate in anyone's book.
Few things in life are sure and certain, but Fair Warning firing out good time rock and roll that will get you out of your seat and happy to be alive is one of them. Sundancer may not be their crowning glory, but it is still a fine album and one that will delight their fans and lovers of melodic hard rock the world over.
01. Troubled Love
02. Keep It In The Dark
03. Real Love
04. Hit And Run
05. Man In The Mirror
06. Natural High
07. Jealous Heart
08. Touch My Soul
09. Send Me A Dream
11. Get Real
12. How Does It Feel
13. Living On The Streets
15. Just As She Smiles (digipak bonus track)
Added: June 14th 2013
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Fair Warning Online
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