APRIL 9th, 2014

Review by Anka

L.R.S. is an acronym that (most likely) stands for the initials of the 3 mainmen of this new rock group. You might be familiar with vocalist Tommy La Verdi (21 Guns), guitarist Josh Ramos (The Storm, Hardline) and drummer Michael Shotton (Von Groove, Airtime). This musical get-together resulted in a melodic rock project with an outstanding melodic load. Their new album “Down to the Core” is scheduled to be released at the end of March through Frontiers Records and, by the way it sounds, if it doesn’t make it in the specialty charts, it will surely find its place in the hearts of a grown up generation that maybe is not aware this genre is still producing great releases nowadays.

This “AOR”sounding album is more like a drop of nostalgia in today’s soundscape. Musically it’s just what you’d expect from the melodic rock genre – it’s smooth flowing, saturated in sweet melodies and weeping guitar solos with graceful piano and keyboard parts of incredible melodiousness. Vocals bring back memories of the ‘80s and ‘90s classic radio rock, but function well without overdoing it technically, thus shifting the focus on the simple but expressive performance.

All 12 songs are in the same genre zone without major variations. Expect an assault of major harmonies and modulations that are so specific to AOR that you might have an emotional breakdown. Ballads like “I can’t take you there” and “Almost over you” are great sing-alongs and remain memorable with their catchy melodies. Faster paced tracks with real “feel-good potential” are guaranteed to infuse a state of well-being and bring some light into your mundane activities. However, ballads abound and make up almost half of the entire release, which ends up resembling a classic rock hits compilation. Not that there’s anything wrong with this.

I can’t say there’s anything flashy, overpowering, either brilliant about the album. But I can definitely say I had a great time listening to it. There’s a shortage of such bold harmonies in rock music nowadays and the beauty of simplicity has been forgotten in favor of boastful technical demonstrations, meaningless songwriting and emotional blandness. So maybe LRS and similar bands are here just in time to balance things out a bit.