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Harem Scarem - Big Bang Theory

Tom Coyne Format: Album
Year: 1998
Label: WEA
Genre: AOR
Producer: Harry Hes, Pete Lesperance
Artist discography


 I have to admit on first listen to this, I absolutely detested it.  I thought one of the world's best bands had sold out, and worse than that, what I abhore more than anything, rush out a record because the greedy Japanese record companies are clamoring for another release.  Jesus, it is less than a year since their last studio record, not to mention the string of best of's, live plus bonus tracks etc., etc., all wreaking with the smell of yen! But seeing that some of my favorite records started off with me disliking them, I was not about to slag Harry and Co. off so quickly. What we have on tap here is the Scarem boys making a pitch to sound a bit like the Foo Fighters, and it was upon repeated listens that I stumbled upon this revelation! So being one that is always open to musical changes, I began to delve a bit deeper. "So Blind" musically treads the same seas as Foo Fighters or even early Wildhearts, and Harry's vocals have a tad bit more rasp added to them than usual. Pete's guitar playing is more along the lines of lead-rhythm style playing and Darren Smith has certainly boned up on the skinsmanship heard on the second FF's opus. "Climb The Gate" is a bit more in the line of what we have come to expect from Canada's finest, although the songs are far more subtle than anything in the past.  These tracks need nurturing and care from you the listener to be fully digested. Remember,  narrowmindedness is a terrible thing!! "Reload" sees the boys firing away on all eight, energized, power pop fused cylinders!   Go for it Harry!   "Turn Around" sounds like a Honeycrack or Wildhearts track, yet the Scarem signature sound is still quite detectable. "Seeds of Dissension" is more of an atmospheric, ballad-based tune that could have fit snugly on the band's third release. "Sometimes I Wish" sees the lead vocal debut of bassist Barry Donaghy, and actually he sounds quite a bit like Harry, and the song is a killer! "Never Have it All" has a ton of Queen references in them and after a few listens you can't help but love it, at least I did.  "Lying" is probably the most straight ahead Scarem styled rocker on the record, and I am loving this song in a large way. "In My State of Mind" is a terrific ballad with Harry crooning away at the piano and also conjures up more Queen memories. So there you have it, just when you thought you had all the answers, Harem Scarem went and changed all the questions. In tracking the careers of all legendary bands, their careers are froth with style changes, it's what makes a band truly great.  10 years from now, when we look back on Harem Scarem, this record will be appreciated for what it was, a big change in style by a great band.  By the way, nice haircuts, guys. 

1. "Turn Around"   3:22
2. "Wasted Time"   4:10
3. "So Blind"   3:40
4. "Without You"   4:26
5. "Climb the Gate"   3:47
6. "What I Do"   4:33
7. "Sometimes I Wish"   3:59
8. "New Religion"   4:05
9. "Lying"   3:41
10. "In My State of Mind"   3:39


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