AUDREY HORNE - Youngblood
I first encountered Norwegian rock band Audrey Horne in 2008, and was anything but excited by their album Le Fol, an album that seemingly didn’t know if it wanted to be hard rock, grunge or alternative. In 2010, they finally decided on a musical direction with their third and simply self-titled album.
The band consequently follows on that new path on their fourth album Youngblood, where there are no longer any grunge and alternative elements to be found. Audrey Horne even label their genre classic rock, and they aren’t even wrong in doing so.
There are three further news items. First, they are now signed to Napalm Records. Second, they chose a rather unknown local producer called Magnet, who is otherwise active as a singer/songwriter. And finally, the quartet has grown to become a quintet, as they realized the undeniable value of a second guitar.
The songs remind often of rock legends that were famous in the late Seventies and the early Eighties. A big influence are definitely Kiss, as both bands have the right talent for arrangements to verge into stadium rock territory. There are also parallels between the voices of vocalist Toschie and Paul Stanley that would be hard to refute. The harmonic interplay of the two guitars succeeds all the way, creating melancholic moments in the vein of Thin Lizzy. The keyboards often use vintage organ sounds that allow for Deep Purple to be named as an influence too. Faster and mid-tempo material keep a balance, but even the quieter tracks still have left a sufficient amount of drive.
The only negative aspect is the fact that the first half of the album is much more entertaining than the latter one. Somehow I get the impression that the band has offered their best material after a short half hour. An exception is Pretty Little Sunshine which one might call poser rock with its parallels to Mötley Crüe. It’s not as if the later songs are not any good, but I miss the exciting moments where the band is bringing new ideas. Apart from this not ideal distribution of songs, Audrey Horne have delivered a good album, and one should definitely keep this band on the radar.