The semi-all-star project assembled in 2005 is still around. For whatever reasons, PLACE VENDOME turns out to be more than just an one-off project and - assuming you're a fan of melodic Hard Rock music and already possess the excellent 2005 same-titled release - the anticipation can grow really high in relation to what a follow-up CD offers 3 Â½ years later. Wow, a hole 'intro' paragraph without a reference to the voice of the band. Michael Kiske portrayed a different self (well, he occasionally does it post-'WEEN) and from one side ensured he can virtually sing anything he wants plus it was now granted that he would take the mic with him in a possible second PLACE VENDOME album. Well here it is, with the same lineup around (Ward, Zafiriou and Reitenauer are all PINK CREAM 69 members while Werno comes from the VANDEN PLAS camp). Are there any changes prior to the music released, indeed? Of course. Parallel to the Frontiers philosophy, songwriting for most (if not all) the tunes in Streets Of Fire was a duty loaded on other people. 'Pasting' the label's Press release, Torsti Spoof (LEVERAGE) offered Dancer, Changes, Believer and the title-track Streets of Fire, Ronny Milianowicz (SAINT DEAMON and songwriter for PRIMAL FEAR) wrote Surrender Your Soul, Completely Breathless and A Scene In Replay, while Robert Sall (WORK OF ART, W.E.T.) supplied Follow Me and Valerie. This leaving three songs penned by Dennis Ward? Ooops, just saw there's a song written by Magnus Karlsson (My Guardian Angel). Anyway, Press releases usually exaggerate on stuff - else we'd be working 24/7 to buy every single CD out - but this one was accurate at - at least - one point: Streets Of Fire is more 'AOR' than its 2005 predecessor. The melodies are more widespread plus the production/sound brings the keyboards a little bit more in the foreground (the mix is superb, don't worry). The rhythm section keeps pounding while the guitars have gone a little bit more gentle. Kiske's singing is one helluva great session again, while he seems to have been more 'educated' to the audience performing for. The pair of 'opening' tracks Streets Of Fire and My Guardian Angel feature the same 'intro' pattern, with the latter being mellower but with a more hook-ing solo. Completely Breathless is more moody, a mild tune (piano fills included here) with up-sound refrains that reveal Kiske's majestic voice once more. Follow Me builds up a more AOR/melodic Rock portrait with a wishful couple and a generous 'optimism' chorus. Set Me Free sees again a keys prologue, then to present a 'rich atmosphere' mid-tempo harmonic cut with an autobiography vibe and Believer steps on classic AOR fast-ace hooks and features a joyful chorus you'll be in love with if fan of the genre. Valerie… rolls on in a similar path. A Scene In Reply smooths things up again; the keys/piano part is an ace in here as the chorus unfolds in cheerful Euro-AOR mood (the solo is striking…), Changes features melody changes from the couple to the bridge to the chorus, retaining a solid placid temper and Surrender Your Soul does add spark in a fast tempo 'boulevard' attitude. Dancer is one of the best tunes in Streets OF Fire, a high-energy melodic rocker (Kiske is the ruler in the refrains) with some kick-ass soloing, and I'd Die For You wraps up this beautiful album in a WestCoast/AOR mood with emotional vocals and some 'moonlit night' backup leads/piano parts, later to transform into a symphonic QUEEN-shading intermezzo/outro. Michael Kiske does seem to mark this PLACE VANDOME album again but the songs are of equal significance, too. They'd stand proud with his voice, anyway. 'Living next door' to the debut, we can possibly say Streets OF Fire is not that identical but just as convincing. If you adored the band's(?) first album then you'll fall in love with this AOR/Melodic Rock follow-up CD, too.
P.S.: A video for the song My Guardian Angel is included as a bonus goodie on the album (not sure if there will be a special edition out or not).
Streets Of Fire My Guardian Angel Completely Breathless Follow Me Set Me Free Believer Valerie (The Truth Is In Your Eyes) A Scene In Reply Changes Surrender Your Soul Dancer I'd Die For You
Michael Kiske - Vocals Dennis Ward - Bass Kosta Zafiriou - Drums Uwe Reitenauer - Guitars Gunther Werno - Keyboards