Issa – Crossfire
She has become one of the reigning queens of modern AOR, and the fourth album from Norwegian siren Issa proves that the well will never run dry. Consistently smooth with the hard rock edginess boldly exposing a strident attitude at times, the tunage on Crossfire never falls short of enigmatic choruses and gripping hooks.
An album soaked in the classic area of arena pop grandeur via the 80’s Heart albums (self-titled album & Bad Animals) as well as Journey’s pomp-fest Raised On Radio, there is even a reflection the swagger of Heaven on Earth-era Belinda Carlisle at many times – but the sound of modern troubadours such as Angelica Rylin, Terra Nova, & Work of Art also rear their head. So get ready for a lot of powerful pop/rock, as the depth of this offering beholds a massive amount of keyboards, guitars, and slickness that by no means, is dated – you have to accept that these sounds are timeless.
At first aural glimpse, “Electric Lights” and the title tune assume positions as scorching melodic rock burners with their arena readiness standing front and center. Yet it’s with the mid tempo “Ghost Inside My Heart” that places a straight forward rock 1-2 punch alongside the big harmonies that stand tried and true to guitar driven pop perfection. And while “Long Time Coming” might assume the position to modern day mainstream pop music, nothing gets watered down in the mix as the sheer power of her vocals and the bold songwriting superglue everything together. Speaking of together, “Raintown” one of the record’s ballads, features Issa singing a duet with FM’s Steve Overland; it’s just what the doctor ordered, so let the rain pour.
Musicans stepping up the plate including the fraternity of label mates Daniel Palmqvist, Alessandro Del Vecchio, & Robert Sall among others. Beside these musicians adding their flare to the meticulously produced recording, it is both John Greatwood & James Martin of Vega fame that have their hands on the console; so it’s a no brainer that all eyes were on the prize with this record just as much they have been with Vega. In the end, again the songs hold the key with everybody bonding together, but it’s Issa’s voice that give the music the unique flavor, she’s not out to be a clone of Wilson, Benatar, or Nicks; but her contralto does find itself within Rindy Ross’ (Quarterflash) and Marika Willstedt (Sonic Station) soaring, emotional delivery, where she can belt and soothe within the same verse. This is one Crossfire you will want to get caught up in.
This Review – Copyright & Publishing: 2015 Tommy Hash for Ytsejam.com