Released on March 20, 2020 (Ravager Records)
From the trippy sounds of ’60s Haight-Ashbury to more recent metal, punk and alternative sounds, for well over fifty years, San Francisco, California has been home to many great rock and roll bands. While the city has always been filled with great musicianship and live performances, the strength of Bay area rock and roll lies in consistently great songs with the best perhaps being the hooky anthems created by AOR and rock acts like Journey, Night Ranger, Sammy Hagar and Y&T between the mid-’70s and the early part of the ’90s. Taking solid classic San Fran guitar rock and roll and loading it with catchy choruses belted out by powerful lead singers and driven home by massive backing vocals, those Bay area rock bands of the ’70s and ’80s grabbed hold of a local ’60s sound filled with heart and soul and injected it with a pumped up shine pushing forward an influence on area bands for years to come. Just a quick listen to Evolution Eden and it’s easy to hear that this San Fran quartet came up on the same rock and roll streets as Journey and Night Ranger.
Delivering infectious AOR anthems right off the bat with 2006 debut Story Road, Evolution Eden have made it a regular practice of penning audience moving tunes filled with Night Ranger-esque catchiness and Journey style bombast. By the time Evolution Eden dropped their 2020 release Audio Therapy, they had already kicked out three albums and an EP worth of rock concert anthems to American concert audiences in support of AOR and melodic rock acts like The Babys, FireHouse, House of Lords, Eclipse, Mr. Big and Dokken. That’s without even mentioning one-time Journey vocalist Steve Augeri and fellow hometown boys Y&T. It’s not so far fetched to think that had Evolution Eden been around 20 or so years earlier, with a bit of production and melody help, they’d have had a shot at international radio and chart success. Don’t wanna take my word for it? Just check out any of the “summer” songs from any of the group’s studio releases and I challenge you to not want to long for sunny ’80s days gone by filled with radio therapy and a strong desire to do anything but hang out indoors behind a screen of any sort.
Musically, Audio Therapy is stuffed with all that catchy anthem goodness that Evolution Eden‘s Bay area forefathers were known for. The hooks and air guitar influencing solos shine through on sing-a-long melodic rock tracks like “Kiss Like Summertime,” “The Time of Our Lives,” and “I Won’t Let Go” as well as uplifting rock anthems “This Is Your Life,” “Yesterday’s News,” and good ol’ days ditty “The Golden Age of Radio.” Even with a massive fourteen tracks, Audio Therapy never once falls short music-wise, which on at least half the tracks makes up for lyrics and vocal melodies that keep Evolution Eden from being the full package they could be. Certainly not a game breaker for fans looking for feel good bar crowd anthems to drink to but if Evolution Eden ever hope to come even halfway close to leaving the mark of the above mentioned Bay area legends, they will need to take those minor weak points and lift them up to a level as consistent as the music itself.
Not that much to take Evolution Eden to a level more than local band but with that being said, even those cons don’t keep their latest album from being a cool collection of rock and roll anthems, and especially for fans of nostalgia and youthful coming of age themes. It’s certainly a feel good rock record and one that hints of potential and possibilities. At the end of the day, it’s enough of a tug to want to wait and see where Evolution Eden are heading.
01. The Animal Inside
02. Kiss Like Summertime
03. Beautiful Disaster
04. The Time of Our Lives
05. Audio Therapy
06. This Is Your Life
07. I Won’t Let Go
08. Where Did It Go?
09. Yesterday’s News
10. The Golden Age of Radio
11. Between Love & Losing You
12. Rebel Heart
13. I’ll Never Love Again
14. Man In The Moon
Brandon Owen – lead guitar, vocals
Mike Pappas – rhythm guitar, vocals
Mike McShane – bass, vocals
Brian Powell – drums
Produced and engineered by Brandon Owen
Mixed by Brandon Owen and Mike Pappas
Reviewed by John Stoney Cannon for Sleaze Roxx, December 2020
Evolution Eden‘s “Kiss Like Summertime” video:
Evolution Eden‘s “Audio Therapy” lyric video:
Evolution Eden‘s “Beautiful Disaster” lyric video: