Pick Your Rock and Metal

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Vitriol in a velvet glove from Ajenda's debut release

AJENDA have produced something remarkable in their album release of Unrecognizable - a perfect album for US FM radio that will also appeal to rock fans.

Sweet harmonies, acoustic tenderness and well placed riffing and measured solos produce an effect that entrances and endears - all underlined by lyrical themes that deliver vitriol in a velvet glove.

The lush soundscapes will not endear them to metal fans, but rockers will be all over this platter, while commercial deejays should be foundering deciding which track to playlist first.

You can stuff your Snore Patrol and Kings of Lame - this is how commercial rock should sound: delicate, poingnant and well produced, but with tales of melanchoy.

Jen's vocals are a mysterious melange of latter day Lita Ford, Pink, Stevie Nicks and Joan Jett, and while the range the songs expose her to may be limiting at times, this is a perfect example of how to play to your strengths.

Solid work from Peter on drums and Janny on bass enables Gav's guitar work to roam as it pleases, from the temptations on Dirty Rock 'n' Roll through to instrumental closer Olympus Monz.

The chug of Tattoo raises the bar, while Jen's blues soul cries agony at what screwed up relationships can do.

No less impressive in the emotional stakes are Heaven's Tears and Fragile's duet of misery. While the lyrical content may be downbeat there is a strange compunction to find the journey cathartic, and thus uplifting.

While the production is clean and the performances smooth and elegant, at times it could do with a little more 'oomph' in terms of more volume and raucous touches - tracks Paranoia and Hatred and Greed are sound contributions, but could allow the band in toto to let loose a little.

However, overall this is an album that can and should garner the attention of the 'right people', it is an album that combines the husky and the smooth, the pain and the passion, and the heartfelt and the heartbreaking. Northern Ireland is once again leading the way compared to the less gifted parts of the globe.

Translating Unrecognizable into the live setting is now the challenge.

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