Rock Company 2018
Back out of limbo on the verge of thirtieth anniversary, Dutch quartet don’t burn, but draws bridges to connect past, present and future.
Due to their involvement in a variety of projects, together and separately, it took this Dutch ensemble nine years to return with a fourth album, the one betraying the quintet’s ’80s provenance but giving it a proud contemporary stance. As a result what could be a futile trip down the vanity, if not memory, lane, turned out as a strong, offering to aficionados of heavier streak in AOR spectrum making “Different” an alluring proposition.
There’s powerful portent in “Kiss Of Fire” whose resounding groove pulls in a guitars’ roll only to resolve it all in bluesy wail and sweet vocal harmonies on a chorus that lose density in “Hello To The World” to first unfold into a lucid ballad and then grow into a hard-rock anthem whose fragility, reflected in the brief title track, would be shattered once the sociopolitical heft of “Eat It Raw” has come crushing down on it. Of course, Peter Cox’s six strings are able to provide a safety net with their intricate weave, but his riffs and solos prefer to arrange risk-laden, challenging situations for the group to go for the jugular, so the likes of “Where I Stand” can righteously inquire, “What the hell is going on?” – even though a few pieces slightly outstay their welcome.
Sander Stappers’s bass and Hans In ‘t Zandt’s drums which drive the attack in the rock ‘n’ roll of “Or The Same!” – one of two instrumentals on the record, the expansive second being “Thank You And Goodnight” – add sharpness to the drift, while Phil Vincent’s voice shines ever bright in “Light-Years To Heaven” against electric-to-acoustic background. All the elements come together in “It Means Nothing” where progressive atmosphere is married to the grind, and it doesn’t really make any difference to what extent this album isn’t like any other one: it was worth the ensemble’s return and it’s worth coming back to.