JAMES CHRISTIAN – Craving
House of Lords frontman James Christian released this fourth solo output of his through Frontiers Records quite recently and the result is a fairly good one although it lacks an adventurous spirit. Christian is obviously a gifted songwriter with a knack for coming up with strong melodies and infectious vocal lines, which is as evident here as it is whenever he teams up with his mates in House of Lords.
The atmospheric opening track entitled “Heaven is a Place in Hell” is great track that boasts a huge chorus, some wonderful riffs, and superb vocals all the way through. The tunes are generally pretty catchy and Christian’s voice is crisp and powerful throughout. The energetic and hook-laden “Sidewinder” is another highlight while the moving “I Won’t Cry” is an awesome ballad with pomp and power to it. The backing vocals work like a charm in the latter and the guitar work is inspired. “Black Wasn’t Black” packs a punch and is an exciting piece from start to finish.
My main gripe with “Craving” is that it feels too safe and sounds a little too predictable, which is to say that there are neither any surprises nor any moments of amazement to be found on it. A few cuts come across as pedestrian and run-of-the-mill, almost as if they have nothing to say, but overall the record is definitely well-written and a pleasure to listen to. Having said that, “Craving” is hardly the kind of album one will keep returning to repeatedly as there are better and more captivating alternatives out there for fans of AOR and melodic rock. If bands such as Journey, Revolution Saints, House of Lords, and to some extent Hardline appeal to you, then “Craving” might be right up your alley.