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Lee Aaron - Radio On!

Lee Aaron
Radio On!
by Mike McMahan at 07 July 2021, 9:06 PM

Lee Aaron is a Canadian vocalist, active since the early eighties, and “Radio On!”, set to release soon, is her fourteenth studio release. The current band started the writing and recording process for this record pre-Covid, hoping, says Aaron“to have FUN, and tap into the influences that inspired us as teenagers”; but had to complete the venture in home studios after the lockdowns hit. That process hasn’t hurt the sound of this release in the least bit, however, as the production is absolutely superb. Put quite simply, the album sounds amazing. Musically speaking, it is full of raw energy, and seems to indeed be more about having fun than anything else. Aaron’s voice is more than up to the task, still, as she sounds like she hasn’t lost a step in nearly forty years in the business. In a world that can sometimes be rough and tumble, that is an impressive feat in and of itself.

The album opens with the upbeat and somewhat Blues-fueled “Vampin’”. The song is full of nasty sounding guitar and the band presents a solid groove for Aaron’s vocal to work over. It is pure Rock n’ Roll, and I could really feel the Classic Rock influences screaming through. The songwriting, lyrically, is not as strong as the presentation, however, and left me a little flat with the body of the tune. There is nothing that I would classify as “terrible”, by any stretch of the imagination. It just felt a bit blasé to me.

“Soul Breaker” is another solid cut, with more gritty guitar work and a growly, gutsy vocal from Aaron. The songwriting worked better on this track, as well, telling the story of what Lee describes as a “bad dude”. “C’mon” kind of lost me on most counts, with a Pop Metal sound that just left me cold.

“Radio On”, the albums title cut, has an almost Pop Country feel to it, that again left me a touch cold. The song presents a great sentiment, and the musicianship on it is as good as anything on the record, but the overall presentation just feels a little forced. “Soho Crawl” is another rocker that feels much more natural across the board, and the album’s closing track, “Twenty One”, is a piano driven ballad with what seems like highly personal lyrical content. To me, it is this record’s best work.

I love the premise and the musical presentation throughout this release. The production value is, as I have already stated, excellent. There are moments, however, where I felt let down with the lyrical output, and possibly where the band was reaching a little too far to find a “popular” sound. In the end, the mediocre just outweighed the good in my ear.

Songwriting: 6
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 5
Production: 9

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Vampin’
2. Soul Breaker
3. C’mon
4. Mama Don’t Remember
5. Radio On
6. Soho Crawl
7. Devil’s Gold
8. Russian Doll
9. Great Big Love
10. Wasted
11. Had Me At Hello
12. Twenty One
Lineup:
Lee Aaron – Vocals
Sean Kelly – Guitars
Dave Reimer – Bass
John Cody – Drums
Record Label: Metalville Records
     


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