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Christian; James: Lay It All On Me

With one of the most under rated voices in all of hard rock, House Of Lords frontman James Christian has always been a firm favourite of mine, his authoritative tones giving gravitas to anything that he's involved with. Not all of the albums that he's put his name to have been unmitigated successes, but for anyone (like myself) with a penchant for Pomp Rock, the first three House Of Lords albums (S/T (1998), Sahara (1990) and Demons Down (1992)) are essential listening, while the band's most recent albums Cartesian Dreams (2009) and Big Money (2011) aren't far behind. In amongst those releases a brace of solo albums '95's Rude Awakening and 2004's Meet The Man have also satisfied, delivering a mixture of heartfelt slower numbers and punchy upbeat rock. However with his third solo offering, Lay It All On Me, not only has Christian served up an album that surpasses his previous solo work, but one which also rivals the very best of what HOL had/have to say.

The album's title track positively bursts into life, with an oft repeated chorus line having you singing along before you even reach the halfway point on your first listen; only getting better and better the more you hear it. I'd go as far as to suggest that it is one of the best songs JC has put his golden tonsils to. From there the standard stubbornly refuses to drop, with the mid paced, yet always captivating "Believe In Me", the keyboard dominated "Sacred Heart", which allows Christian to hit the vocal heights yet again and the attitude infused "She's All The Rage" hitting home to great effect.

With a line up containing fellow House Of Lorders Jeff Kent (keys), BJ Zampa (drums) and Jimi Bell (guitars) - in fact only HOL bassist Chris McCarvill doesn't show up from the main band - it is a little hard to work out where the solo and band aspects between James Christian and House Of Lords begin and end. Although other contributors also show up in the shape of Robin Beck (Mrs James Christian) on backing vocals, David Sherman on drums and Jorge Sala and Shelby Stewart both on guitar. There's no denying that Lay It All On Me leans heavily on the signature sound Christian is known for, but there's also a slightly more obvious commercial edge to this album which makes it stands tall and proud on its own merits. All eleven tracks have true depth to them, convincing from start to finish, with the likes of "Sincerely Yours" or "You're So Bad" combining punchy guitars with uplifting keyboard bursts via shit kicking beats and (obviously) classy vocals.

If you've been seduced by the voice and music of any of James Christian's previous releases, then investing in Lay It All On Me is a serious no brainer. If pulsating hard rock with a commercial, pompy edge is the sort of thing that gets your blood racing, then be prepared to absolutely love this album. I know I do!

Track Listing
1. Lay It All On Me
2.Sacred Heart
3. Day In The Sun
4. Believe In Me
5. You're So Bad
6. Don't Come Near Me
7. Let It Shine
8. She's All the Rage
9. Sincerely Yours
10. Shot in the Dark
11. Welcome to Your Future

Added: June 21st 2013
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: James Christian Online
Hits: 2164
Language: english

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