Harmony Factory 2015
Unabashed celebration of adventurous force from melodic rock’s finest whose motto is “All killer, no kitty litter!”
One would think they don’t make records like this anymore, after grunge had poisoned sweet hard rock abandon, but a new supergroup aren’t willing to hinder their interstellar flight with such a down-to-earth notion. More so, if this album’s title suggests creative chaos, there’s none of it, even in the track of the same name where acoustic strum and piano mix with riffs and lush vocal harmonies and get drenched in the sea of strings.
Tune’s the king here, in the band’s shameless, though tongue-in-cheek, praying at the altar of the old guard and playing out their teenage dream. As a result, the sax-smoothed “Schoolyard Fantasy” could vie for the “guilty pleasure” title if it wasn’t so sincere, and the brisk “Stop” – which sees Paul Manzi’s voice unfold into a mellifluous choir and Greg Hart’s guitar go anthemic – is a hit in waiting. Still, CIS stand their ground be it under orchestral tide of “The Greatest Story Never Told” – arranged by Mike Moran and led by Andy Stewart’s piano as 10CC’s Mick Wilson joins in – or in solid power-pop of “Mr Heartache” with SWEET’s Andy Scott paying visit.
So deeply rooted, the ensemble have all the rights to deride pretenders in “Five-Minute Celebrity” and, at the same time, tap into joke with “Only In Vegas,” this glittery piece of disco-funk colored with Dean Howard’s licks. And then, there’s “Velvet Horizon”: one of the most touching, and short, ballads heard in ages, it’s a perfect finale to an almost perfect creations. Fans of ELO, URIAH HEEP, QUEEN and SUPERTRAMP will find much to love here, yet one doesn’t need all those references to enjoy the “journey to the nevermind” on this cosmic playground.