II by Houston (Livewire/ Cargo Records)
Fans of mainstream acts such as Journey and Foreigner will surely discover a lifelong favorite when taking an excursion through the sonic terrains of Houston. Not based out of the Lone Star State, this Houston proudly calls Stockholm, Sweden their home base. II is the name of their latest masterwork, ten glorious songs in all, destined to spin in your head like all the very great AOR classics of the past. Even though one does indeed reference an earlier decade when referring to the type of genre Houston envelopes, their songs possess a timeless appeal that should thrill all types of music aficionados.
First up is the wondrously melodious Glory, which begins with the line “some call me a dreamer” before exploding into a grand and triumphant chorus. I’m Coming Home is vast and inspiring, a should-be hit single for the ages. Return My Heart then rocks your world with its vibrant guitars and soaring vocals.
Talk To Me is stirring and heartfelt, showing just how inspiring Houston is when it comes to a mid-tempo ballad. Back To The Summer Of Love will surely make you want to put on your dancing shoes as you recall exhilarating memories of the past. 24 Hours shows once again Houston’s uncanny knack for writing the perfect AOR song that should be all over the airwaves.
On The Radio sounds like a long lost Journey song, with its classic keyboards and superb vocal inflections. Losing is a winning cut featuring a passionate chorus that sends the tune into the classic rock stratosphere. Just Friends is magic and memorable, featuring a guest female vocalist, rendering this one a standout. And then closing out II is the dynamic Believe, a stunning conclusion that will leave the listener craving a whole lot more!
The main trio of talented musicians who inhabit Houston are Hank Erix, Ricky Delin, and Freddie Allen, all leaving their own indelible stamp on the proceedings. Guest musicians include Tommy Denander (Michael Jackson, Paul Stanley, many others) for most guitar parts and long-time band associate Soufian Ma’Aoui for the bass parts. An extraordinary collection of songs that will set your imagination on flight, II by Houston is a thrilling collage of AOR rock that should gain this collective a thunderous deal of worldwide acclaim. With an album this rock solid, it will be excited to see what their third magnum opus will have in store for us! Stay tuned!
(Review by Kenneth Morton)
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