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Fall Short For Glory - 'The Daytime EP' (self released) 4/5

This is the second ep from Bucks pop-punkers Fall Short For Glory in under a year, and I gotta say against all expectations I'm enjoying this three tracker very muchly.

Coming firmly from the Green Day, Blink 182, Arctic Monkey's stable FSFG have cooked up a very infectious and damn listenable little release. We start off with Is It Real Yet? a corkingly catchy ditty with a quirkly riff that brings to mind the early work of sadly missed Bristol outfit Clockwork Sniper. Stray Away is a bit more straight forward, sounding a bit like The Subways or The Skuzzies. It has a great sing-a-long-and-punch-the-air chorus and a cool minimalist guitar solo that wouldn't sound out of place on a track by London pop punkers The Red Zoids. The closer Never Look Back is perhaps the weakest of the three, but even this blows the balls off some of the pop-rock and pop-punk stuff that has passed through my inbox in recent weeks.

Over all FSFG have done themselves proud here, they show an aptitude to good song writing, and know how to construct a well catchy tune. I'm sure that given a year or two to develop their craft, and get out on the road to hone their skills and pick up the following that is sure to come, they will develop into a band the UK will start to take notice of. Highly Recommended.

For fans of... The Arctic Monkeys, Green Day, The Subways, The Red Zoids.....

Bobby Kimball / Jimi Jamison - 'Kimball / Jamison' (frontiers records) 3.5/5

Now when I got this one through my inbox I'll admit I was licking my lips, I've always had a lot of time for Toto and back in the 80's I had a bit of liking for Survivor as well, so when I found that Toto's Bobby Kimball and Jimi Jamison (former Survivor frontman) had teamed up for a one off album I got a bit fired up.

However now I'm living with the album I'm finding the experience a bit of a double edged sword. I have no issue with the vocalist here at all, both Mr Kimball and Mr Jamison show on this album why they became the stand out voices for an entire decade of US stadium rock. Neither can I find anything to complain about regarding their backing musicians. It's just this album is like that little girl with the curl in the middle of her forehead. When it's good it is outstanding, tracks like Worth Fighting For, Chasing Euphoria, Get Back in The Game and Hearts Beat Again you get everything that was good about 80's stadium rock; great uplifting choruses you can't help but yell along to, huge riffs, sweet guitar work and massive walls of keyboards to fill the spaces in between. Yet in other places this album gives you the very worst that this genre can cook up, by-the-numbers power ballads that are pure processed cheese, soft rock tracks that sound like montage tunes for straight to video TV movies and sickly sweet close harmony vocals that are stacked so high they are a danger to low flying aircraft.

However, now I think about it, I can say the same about an awful lot of 80's stadium rock albums, including a lot of the out put of both Toto and Survivor, so I really shouldn't be that surprised. So basically this is a typical classic 80's style American AOR record, it is superb in places and cheese in others, you pays yer money, you takes your pick. Overall this record does have more to recommend it than not, so if you hanker for a nostalgic slice of music from a time when the hair was as big as the lapels on the lounge suits then you can do no better than giving this one a spin.

for fans of... Toto, Survivor, Journey, Foreigner, Loverboy etc

Machine Head - 'Unto The Locust' (roadrunner) 4.5/5

Oakland post thrashers Machine Head are not a band who hurry when it comes to releasing new material, its been four years since their previous outing, with most of the time since been taken up with a very heavy live schedule. But at last we have new materiel in the form of 'Unto The Locust' the bands seventh studio release.

So has the wait been worth it? Well on first play through I think I can say that it has. There are only seven songs on off here, but one exception they all weigh in at around or over the six thirty mark giving a total album play time of around fifty minutes, and  not one of those minutes is wasted. Every second is used to showcase what a versatile outfit Machine Head really are. We get some fine slices of old school thrash, tasty chunks of meaty death metal, some very interesting almost progressive moments, even snatches of classically influenced guitar work and folk rock interludes.

From the opening bars of I Am Hell (Sonata In C#) with its neo-classical motifs,  to the closing climax of Who We Are with its children's choir and huge stadium metal chorus that resolves into a distant and plaintiff string quartet, there isn't really a weak moment on show; but if I have to pick a fave track on offer then it has to be Pearls Before Swine with its old school thrash riffage and razor cut guitar solos.

Overall I'm very impressed with 'Unto The Locust', I wouldn't go as far as saying its the best album of the year, but its up there with them. Very Highly Recommended.

For fans of... Megadeth, Slayer, Metal Church, Charred Walls Of the Damned, Spires....