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First Signal - One Step Over the Line

First Signal
One Step Over The Line
by Lauren Fonto at 12 October 2016, 5:10 PM

I’m always pleased when an album turns out to be better than I thought upon a second listen. “One Step Over the Line” is such an album. But did it set my world on fire? I’ll attempt to answer that in my review.

I feel that the greatest strength of this band is vocalist Harry Hess. His voice reminds me of the English singer SEAL here and there, but with a huskier sound. He has a good range, and he never sounds like he’s straining to reach a note. The vocal harmonies work well throughout the album, and add interest. He gives a particularly powerful performance on “Broken” and album closer “One Step Over the Line”
However, most of the album comes across as simply a vehicle to showcase Hess’s vocal talents; the guitars and bass are mostly quite subdued. The drums didn’t really stand out for me either.

Guitarist Michael Palace provides pleasant rhythm riffs throughout. His playing made me sit up and take notice on “Pedestal”, one of the strongest tracks on the album. He opens with a great passage full of mournful-sounding string bends. Overall, the back half of the album feels more inspired guitar-wise. However, guest guitarist Franceso Marras gives good account of himself in his solo on “Love Gets Through”. He also does a great job of his solo on the rather catchy “She Is Getting Away”. While the guitar ideas aren’t very original, they are still well-executed, if a bit far back in the mix at times.

I was pleasantly surprised by the keyboard work of Daniel Flores upon second listen of the album. He provides some catchy electro hooks on “Kharma” and “She Is Getting Away”, for example. The electro elements fit in really well with the rest of the music, and are mostly well-executed. He does a good enough job on the drums, but is mostly passive throughout the album.

In the end, I ended up enjoying the album a lot more than I thought I would upon an initial listen. The music is fun and pleasant to listen to, but I’m unsure how much I’ll come back to it in the months and years to come.

Songwriting: 6
Originality: 6
Memorability: 6
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

1. Love Run Free
2. Love Gets Through
3. Still Pretending
4. Broken
5. Kharma
6. Minute of Your Time
7. She Is Getting Away
8. December Rain
9. Weigh Me In
10. Pedestal
11. One Step Over the Line
Harry Hess – Vocals
Michael Palace – Acoustic, electric and bass guitars
Daniel Flores – Keyboards and drums

Franceso Marras - (solo on “Love Gets Through” and “She Is Getting Away”)
Darren James Smith, Harry Hess, Alessandro Del Vecchio, Nigel Bailey, Daniel Flores, Rolf Pilotti and Angelica Ryan – Backing vocals
Record Label: Frontiers Records


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