What with an excellent debut EP behind them, a sparkling sound courtesy of the legendary Michael Wagener on this their debut full length effort and melodic hard rock reissue specialists Rock Candy enticed to release said album, Runaway, the pressure on Tempt to deliver is high. Which is a real shame, because Runaway is a good, solid, too long and slightly not varied enough debut that certainly leaves little doubt that Tempt could be something spectacular. And yet here they are more good, than great. Usually that would be enough but with all the unhelpful fanfare, Tempt might just end up as the latest great white hopes that never quite made it.
"Comin' On To You" struts the album into view, a Steve Clarke (the much missed Def Leppard guitar man) like riff melded onto Poison fret squeals, while you can already imagine frontman Zach Allen prowling the stage like David Lee Roth (although Allen is a better singer). Add in obligatory gang vocals in the chorus and this is a high kicking, whoop and shriek of an opener. "Under My Skin" brings it all down, lighters (well mobile phones these days) thrust in the air as the slow chant builds. It's a decent enough follow up and yet, even with a few string strikes and xylophone plonks, it does allow the initial excitement to leak away. It also reveals the album's two main weaknesses – flabby backing vocals that I guess are meant to feel loose, but come across as lazy, and too many numbers that play by the rules, even by party rock standards.
The sumptuous sound allows guitarist Harrison Marcello (who also provides keyboards) a real punch to everything he does, the brooding "Paralyzed" adding a chorus that lands somewhere between Bulletboys, Warrant and Kingofthehill, while the constant whiff of Danger Danger runs strongly through "The Fight". If you're getting the impression that Runaway doesn't really contain any hidden secrets marked 'original', you'd be spot on and yet, in truth, even as a fan of the genre, I didn't really expect that to be the motivation behind this debut. Although I maybe didn't anticipate the nods and winks to bands gone by to be quite so blatant. However I can't tell you that Runaway isn't pretty good, after all "Time Won't Heal" wiggles as though it's White Lion, while "Fucked Up Beautiful" hits like Mike Tramp and the boys jamming with Tobruk and 80s Heart.
However for all the spandex stretched and hairspray applied, I can't quite shake off the feel that the excitement this band's self released debut EP revealed has been chiseled out of existence in the desperate search for the killer sound and classic hook. Taken in small doses Runaway hits home – something that in this day and age of playlists may actually work in its favour – however as an album to experience from track one to fifteen, it all becomes a little forgettable.
Expectation is a funny thing, for had Runaway landed for review with no fanfare or back story, I guess I'd be telling you it was a pleasant surprise that shows lots of promise, while not being the finished article – so let's go with that and not lumber the band with unfair hurdles to vault. Runaway is good, but hopefully Tempt will in the long run prove to be better.
1. Comin' On To You
2. Under My Skin
4. Use It Or Lose It
8. The Fight
9. What Is Love
10. Time Won't Heal
11. Love Terminator
12. Fucked Up Beautiful
14. Dirty One
15. Aamina MW mix
Added: September 10th 2016
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Tempt on Facebook
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