HAREM SCAREM – Thirteen
The 13th studio album from Canadian melodic hard rock band Harem Scarem represents the vibrancy an act can have when going for the gusto and playing from the heart. What you can expect is a series of songs that contain all the requisite elements for memorable songwriting in this genre- starting with the bigger than life choruses such as "Live It" or "All I Need" and thick chord progressions and spirited nuances that can hook you in immediately, which occurs through guitarist Pete Lesperance’s talented fingers on "Garden of Eden" as well as the bluesy, stair step groove number "Troubled Times".
Of course a complete scope of styles would also include some reflective, emotional ballads – and vocalist /keyboardist Harry Hess has the soulful, expressive range necessary to pull off the Winger meets Queen-like "Whatever It Takes". Harem Scarem embody a spirit of North American hard rock that is sorely lacking in today’s multi-tasking, fast paced world – a feel in the riffs, a sense of pop focus, and AOR-oriented choruses that reminds me of classic Night Ranger. Favorites on "Thirteen" change by the day: currently as I hit the keystrokes the up tempo "Saints and Sinners" and 5 minute bluesy closer "Stardust" captivate my brain and body, but this is a 39 minute album that doesn’t have a clunker in the lot.
So if you enjoy a lot of vocal melodies that have that classic Beatles/ Queen meets power pop texture and music that is full of old school licks and tricks but captured in today’s production values, Harem Scarem and "Thirteen" could be another essential record to add to your ever growing collection. The old vanguard can still teach the new generation a thing (or ten) about writing and recording full length records that stand the test of time.