Just Another Day | review
Yes, he's done it again. The catchiest songwriter in melodic rock has completed his debut solo album, which holds no surprises, in that it's filled with only the finest hook friendly pop rock.
Most solo albums see the artist branch out on a different route than the band and Harem Scarem's Harry Hess is no different. Except on Just Another Day, we revisit Harry's love of simple modern pop/rock, which Rubber certainly touched on.
This is a little different from Rubber again, in that it's a more laid back, moody, ballad-friendly environment than the uptempo feel good 3 minute fuzz-rock of Rubber.
Essentially, this album is 9 moody pop rock ballads and once classic Scarem track revisited.
Look Right Through Me is a great track to open with. A dual electric and acoustic driven track, the chorus is as instant as Harry's raspy vocals are. The feel good, happy go lucky song would be just that, if it wasn't for the anguish of the heartbreaking lyrics. A small note - I believe the songs cuts away about a minute too soon, as I can only just hear Eric Martin's guest vocal as the song fades.
Wasted Away is a song not too distant from the general writing style from Weight Of The World. Another very catchy chorus feeds this melancholy uptempo track.
Everybody is pure pop rock brilliance. This is truly a great uptempo feel good track, with some intelligent lyrics, killer chorus and a multi-layered closing portion of the song that should have all Hess fans in raptures.
Just Another Day starts slow, with some modern production techniques, before turning into a dark and brooding chorus, which as usual is as catchy as hell. The song gets slightly heavier as it goes and is another that could easily have been transformed into a Harem Scarem track.
Two Ways is a pure pop song with some Beatlesque influences. It's pretty laid back, but features a strong chorus, which saves the song. Still pretty likeable!
The Deep End is another very pop song and mainly acoustic driven. This maybe the album's weakest track and even saying that is pretty catchy. This is Harry at his most pop - or at his furthest point from what harem Scarem is. Being that the last 2 songs slowed the album's flow down, it was time for something upbeat and Undone delivers. Back to the moody electric guitar driven pop rock of the album opening numbers, this track features more Beatlesque retro vibes, but with a very simple feel good chorus.
Why is another guitar driven track and one fo the more uptempo tracks of the album. This vibe of the song matches that of If You from Weight Of The World and for that reason is also one of the album's best tracks.
Miles Away continues the strong run of tracks towards the end of the album. Semi-acoustic and moody in nature, the chorus here is one of the very best Harry has written for the album and is instantly memorable. Sentimental BLVD. is of course, the track originally recorded for the classic Harem album Mood Swings, except it featured drummer Darren Smith on vocals. Here Harry gives us his own version of the hit, which if you ask me, sounds like the original version the band would have demoed from the album. This does not sound like the rest of the album, nor does it sound like it was recorded at the same time. So this seems like a gift for classic Harem Scarem fans, which will see it rated highly with listeners. While musically different, it makes the vibe of the album and closes out the album on a high note.
However, at only 38 minutes long, it is again over all too soon and one hopes that the next Harem album will run slightly longer than this and their last album. Additionally, it's not as tightly produced as the Scarem albums and particularly the flawless Weight Of The World. This is a more laid back, looser approach to the song style and sound recording.
The Bottom Line
Several tracks from Just Another Day could sit comfortably on the last Harem Scarem album, had they been dealt with in a slightly different manner. That should see the majority of Harem fans able to purchase this and enjoy it thoroughly, although those already partial to Rubber and a softer singer/songwriter approach will digest it more comfortably.
If you favor the modern sound from Harem and like the mellower moments of Rubber, this album will rate more highly than for those who are still more keen on Mood Swings.
But when you strip it all back, this is still an album of very catchy, very likeable pop rock songs that only enhance the reputation of the writer even further.
Originally posted at melodicrock.com