Rock Company 2018
Homecoming triumph for Brazilian hard rock champions exposes their flawed brilliance.
Bravado is what keeps Rodrigo Marenna and his companions going, so it’s not surprising to see them submit a tour document with only one full-length studio album to base a set list on – preserved for posterity on the group’s stomping ground on Caxias do Sul before that record was released – because the quintet can serve up impeccable AOR. Impeccable but rather formulaic and, in the absence of South American ferocity, the listener may struggle to love the ensemble’s sweet noise when the stage is out of sight. Not for nothing the singer has to shout the title of almost every number blowing away the cobwebs of apathy from the crowd.
They deserve better, of course, and there’s many a memorable moment here, once a contagious a cappella salvo opened the panorama of “You Need To Believe” whose guitar barrage is so palpable in live delivery, with “Can’t Let You Go” capturing concert atmosphere just as relentlessly, yet the likes of “About Love” and “Reason To Live” loosen all the tension down. It’s not lost panache that’s the issue here; it’s the trodden tropes the bands invoke. If the defiantly squealing “Never Surrender” is saved by rock ‘n’ roll licks, needless heaviness undermines the balladry behind “Come Back” whereas, generic effusiveness aside, “Forever” would be firmly anchored by a solid bass throb.
There’s irony in “So Different” not sounding different from a lot of other songs, yet the organ-bolstered rage of “No Regrets” truly sums it all up – and, given this piece’s emotional load, shows the way forward. Bravado is a good thing, but going one’s own way is better.