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Keen Hue - Heydays

Keen Hue
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 31 October 2019, 11:11 AM

On a summer’s day in 1978, bassist Lars-Åke Nilsson loaded his amp and speaker into his bike trailer, headed for the first meeting with guitarist Åke Nyström. This was the start of KEEN HUE. They spend much of their earlier career covering bands like THE RAMONES, JUDAS PRIEST, and BLACK SABBATH. They managed to release two albums, but singer Lars left the band, and then came Grunge music, and they faded into history. Fast forward to 2018…Lars called up the guys and they all agreed to re-record some older tracks, and here is what we have now called “Heydays,” which were all tracks originally recorded between 1981 and 1989.

“Fly Away Honey” opens with a wall of vocal harmonies and a mid-tempo pace. Right away, you get a sense of how strong Nilsson is when it comes to the vocals. It definitely has that 80’s feeling to it…like JOURNEY or WHITE LION even. The chorus is big and rich. “Blue Girls” opens with gentle waves crashing on the shore, followed by a faster moving riff. It has a slightly darker edge to it as well, until the chorus comes busting in, full with melody. “Stay Around” has that power-ballad feeling to it…it moves slowly with some ambiance in the verses. Nilsson pleads in the chorus which is full with emotions.

“Crossfire” has a tougher, more edgy sound, more akin to the Metal genre. The guitars fuel this track for the most part. The guitar solo however could have been a bit better. “Gimmie Love” features a melodic riff and a strong vocal performance. The melody falls off just a bit in the bridge. “Take it or Leave it” is a slow song with piano and flute. The harmonized vocals are a nice touch as well. Strings are used here as well in this highly emotive song. “The Doctors Crying” has a faster and heavier sound, but with vocal harmonies, reminding me of DOKKEN. Again, it’s Nilsson’s strong vocals that are key to the sound here. “Wasted Time” has a slower groove, but still with strong vocal harmonies. This time, they hit the sweet spot in the chorus.

“OgreKing” closes the album, with a heavy and more aggressive guitar riff. There are some odd spoken vocals here…being the OgreKing I suppose. Overall, this is about what I would expect from songs recorded in the genre between 1981 and 1989. But, besides having a great vocalist, and some decent songwriting, there really isn’t anything else to brag about. They really don’t use the bass player to their advantage and there aren’t any glittering/blistering leads. I say the band should have left these recordings to the 1980’s.

Songwriting: 6
Originality: 5
Memorability: 3
Production: 8

2 Star Rating

1. Fly Away Honey
2. Blue Girls
3. Stay Around
4. Crossfire
5. Gimmie Love
6. Take it or Leave it
7. The Doctors Crying
8. We Don’t Need War
9. Wasted Time
10. OgreKing
Lars-Åke Nilsson – Vocals
Stefan Morén – Guitar
Åke Nyström – Guitar
Kent Jansson – Bass
Peter Ytterberg – Drums
Record Label: AOR Heaven


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