How often do you get a cover album of old classic AOR and Westcoast songs? And how often is it a bunch of Swedish youngsters performing the music? Well, the answer to both questions is: next to never! So it is with great pleasure that I introduce the new HOUSTON album "Relaunch" to you. A smart album title, by the way. And this Stockholm based band is really performing these old pearls in a very good way. The choice of songs is another goodie. Here's the list of cover songs on "Relaunch": Runaway (DAKOTA), Carrie (MICHAEL BOLTON), Brief Encounter (AIRRACE), Don't you know what love is (TOUCH), Don't ever wanna lose ya (NEW ENGLAND), Didn't we almost win it all (LAURA BRANIGAN).
First of all, one small thing has to be clarified. This album is a close collaboration between producer/songwriter and musician RICKY DELIN, so the product is actually presented as "Houston Relaunch - as presented by Ricky Delin". And it's no wonder, since it seems Ricky has worked his butt off to create one of the most westcoast sounding productions of the year. Just hear how the keyboard sounds and the sound picture are so close to the originals here - like in the opener "Runaway" for example. Vocalist HANK ERIX also need some special attention, since his singing is really good and the voice is really suitable for this kind of songs. Just hear his sensitive effort in "Didn't we almost win it all" - phew! The song itself is one that I overlooked simply because it was on a rather late release out of Branigan's catalogue. And choosing "Don't you know what love is"! Does it get more AOR than this song? Finally I must mention the new song "Without your love" (Delin) which is a perfect match for the cover songs. Added to this, there are acoustic versions of the Houston songs "Truth slips" and "1000 songs".
Regardless of what our ex-colleague at melodic wrote about the HOUSTON debut album (I certainly do not agree on his review) - this is something well worth checking out! It's a gem.