Having split up almost nine years ago, Aura is Fair Warning's second album since they reformed. If Brother's Keeper, their comeback album, was a solid and in places impressive release, then it is fair to say that Aura sees the four piece up the quality to record what is arguably their best album to date.
"Fighting For Your Love" is an excellent opener, it's bombastic, insistent riff has such a memorable hook that you will be humming it for days and Tommy Heart's vocals are just perfect for this type of in your face, feel good Melodic Rock. With a surprising thwunk reminiscent of Hank Marvin's guitar tone "Here Comes The Heartache" doesn't take long to reveal another cool guitar line that will burrow its way into your memory and keep you pressing the repeat button. Throughout the album Helge Engelke puts in a mightily impressive six string display, the riffs are strong, to the point and most importantly memorable and his solos compliment the songs well.
Track three "Hey Girl" brings the pace down a little with the sparse acoustic intro allowing Heart to display the depth of his range, he really does have seductive tones. It's another strong track, however if I was to have a criticism of the album, it would be that the slower numbers on show do have a slightly similar feel, a little more variation wouldn't have hurt. It is though a minor quibble as they are all good songs in their own right, just not as effective if played back to back.
The driving force that is "Don't Count On Me" sees CC Behrens show his chops behind the kit with a superb drum break before Heart gives us a Steve Perryesque "La La La Laaaaa". In fact the whole song has a Journey vibe to it and it could have happily been recorded by that band for last year's Revelation album. Even the guitar solo is a nod to Neal Schon, which is no bad thing.
Containing a similar feel to "Superstitious" era Europe, "Walking On Smiles" is the album's stand out track. With a bluesy guitar line, a superb Hammond feel keyboard melody and Heart's best vocal of the disc, this is one song that you will want to play again and again. It's no exaggeration to say it's one of the best songs I've heard so far this year.
Closing track "Station To Station" has a gently funky vibe (we're not talking Glenn Hughes here) that Engelke's guitar weaves in and out of and Ule Ritgen, who is excellent on every song, lays down an authoritative bass line that gets you moving with the beat.
There is a limited edition of this album that contains a further two bonus tracks, "It Takes More" and "Falling Reprise" along with a video of the making of the album which was filmed at the old Knight's Manor that the songs were recorded in. Unfortunately the review copy I received didn't have these bonus features, however with the high standard running through the rest of the songs; I will be rectifying that pronto.
If an album full of exquisitely crafted melodic rock with stunning vocals and stinging guitars is what you seek, then you need look no further than Aura.
1. Fighting For Your Love
2. Here Comes The Heartache
3. Hey Girl
4. Don't Count On Me
6. Holding On
7. Walking On Smiles
9. As Snow White Found Out
10. Station To Station