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Harem Scarem: Mood Swings II

Harem Scarem have a new album coming out? Wait a minute, didn't they split up? Did I not review Harry Hess' solo album semi-recently? What did you say…? They've rerecorded Mood Swings using contemporary techniques? Ok, sometimes this type of exercise works and sometimes it doesn't.

I'm pleased to let you know that on this occasion it works very well. If you've never experienced the Scarem before you won't find a better introduction than this. What makes things even better is that they have kindly bolstered the situation with some very nice new songs such as the Leppard-like ballad "World Gone to Pieces" and the catchy rocker "Anarchy". To be honest classy AOR doesn't get any classier than this and if the gorgeous instrumental "Mandy" isn't worth the price of admission by itself then I'm a Dutchman.

Track Listing:
  1. Saviors Never Cry
  2. No Justice
  3. Stranger Than Love
  4. Change Comes Around
  5. Jealousy
  6. Sentimental Blvd.
  7. Mandy
  8. Empty Promises
  9. If There Was a Time
  10. Just Like I Planned
  11. Had Enough
  12. World Gone To Pieces
  13. Anarchy
  14. Brighter Day

DVD: "Re-Making Of Mood Swings" documentary; Audio Files: Change Comes Around, Saviours Never Cry, No Justice

Added: May 7th 2014
Reviewer: Simon Bray
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2103
Language: english

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Harem Scarem: Mood Swings II
Posted by Jon Neudorf, SoT Staff Writer on 2014-05-07 23:36:55
My Score:

I must confess that although I have heard of this Canadian band for years I never got around to actually checking them out. Until now. The band formed in 1987 by vocalist Harry Hess and guitarist Pete Lesperance. Their second album Mood Swings is as highly regarded as they come so to celebrate its 20th anniversary the band has reworked the songs and have added three brand new bonus tracks.

There are three original members back with Harry Hess (lead and backing vocals, keyboards), Pete Lesperance (guitars, bass, keyboards) and Darren Smith who provides vocals on one track. Creighton Doane rounds out the band on drums having joined the group in 2000.

This is AOR/melodic rock at its absolute finest. Solid guitar work, excellent lead and backing vocals and enough melodic hooks that will satiate any hard core pop fan.

Just as it did on the original album, "Saviors Never Cry" starts things off with a bang; all crunchy riffs with a chorus that is more than just a little catchy. The Def Leppard inspired "No Justice" continues along the same vein and is followed by the super catchy "Stranger Than Love" with its slick Leppard-like vocal arrangement and solid rhythmic groove. In "Change Comes Around" the effect laden beginning leads to a barrage of jack hammer riffs that are sure to get your juices flowing making for a great party track. "Jealousy" is a nice little slice of funky blues rock while the instrumental "Mandy" slows things down and includes some of the tastiest guitar on the disc.

The three bonus tracks are also very good and fit in well with the original tunes.

Also included is a DVD providing insight on the original album and why they decided to redo it. Fans will certainly enjoy this.

Having never heard the original album I can't say if you need Mood Swings II as well. I can say, however, the album's production sounds great and the band play the hell out of their instruments. The more I play it, the more I love this album. If you don't have the original and like melodic rock adding this to your collection is a no-brainer.

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