Out of This World: ‘Out of This World’

Released on April 2, 2021 (Out of This World)

I have to start by saying that my favorite Europe album is Out of This World, which was released way back in 1988. In fact, Europe‘s Out of This World is one of my favorite albums of all-time. Although the record is probably slightly poppier or lighter than what I would usually gravitate to, I have always found the melodies, Joey Tempest‘s Swedish laced English vocals and Kee Marcello‘s unique guitar tone — well, out of this world. Accordingly, I was really curious to see what Marcello‘s new band, the aptly named Out of This World, would sound like. Of course, I was really hoping for part two of Europe‘s Out of This World with Marcello‘s signature guitar tone leading the way.

Interestingly, Out of This World features three members from Kee of Hearts consisting of Marcello, lead vocalist Tommy Heart and bassist Ken Sandin. This makes me feel that the band name change might be more about capitalizing on the fame generated from Europe‘s Out of This World than really starting a new project. The results are kind of mixed on Out of This World‘s self-titled debut album. I have to admit that my expectations were quite high given the band name that was adopted and the obvious references to Europe‘s sublime record Out of This World. I have no idea why Out of This World would kick off their album with the keyboard heavy and very melodic “Twilight” followed by the slower “Hanging On” but I feel that it really gives the listener the wrong impression of what can be expected. Both tracks are solid in their own right but the songs for the most part really pick up after those two first tracks. I almost have to remind myself when listening to the record that just to get through the first two tracks because the best is yet to come.

The similarities with Europe‘s Out of This World first really creep up with the third track “In A Million Years.” The song starts off with some keyboards which are tastefully followed by Heart‘s vocals before a catchy chorus. The background vocals to Heart‘s singing really works well on this track. I could have easily seen this on Europe‘s Out of This World and as it turns out, this was a left over track from the band’s Prisoners in Paradise. Marcello‘s solo is a great one and shows that he hasn’t lost his guitar chops roughly 30 years after Europe first imploded. From then on, it’s just one great song after another from tracks three to eight with some big choruses, upbeat melodies and Marcello‘s signature guitar tone. The beginning of “Staring At The Sun” reminds me of a song that I can’t put the name to but in any case, it works really well and it has a great melodic feel to it without sounding keyboard sappy. “The Warrior” really showcases Marcello‘s guitar playing, has a great groove and it really rocks. I wish there were more tracks like this one on Out of This World.

One of my favourites on the album is “Up To You.” It’s another track that could have easily found itself on Europe‘s Out of This World with an easy to singalong to chorus and some seemingly heartfelt “Oh oh” from Tommy Heart that really reminds me of Joey Tempest‘s singing. Sadly, Out of This World ends on a whimper with two forgettable tracks — “Only You Can Teach Me How To Love Again” and “Not Tonight” — where the band adopts a more melodic / sappy rock style that simply is kind of dull to listen to. The bonus tracks are fun since there are four (with one being a short instrumental) from the live record Live From The Heat that was released at the same time as Out of This World. Although there is no denying that it’s a tall order to sing any Europe songs due to Tempest‘s very identifiable voice, Heart does a good job on “Let The Good Times Rock” and “Superstitious.” The last full live track is “Burning Heart” which is a nod to Heart‘s Fair Warning pedigree.

Overall, Out of This World is a fun record. Tracks three though eight seem to capture some of the magic from Europe‘s Out of This World while the remaining tracks are kind of forgettable more melodic rock type stuff. Frankly, I would have liked Out of This World to just release an EP with the third to eight tracks from Out of This World. Had they done so, those six songs would put Out of This World‘s debut offering into the mix for one of the top albums of the year. However, with the additional more melodic songs, there are just too many “skippable” moments on the record. In any case, it’s nice to see Marcello trying to recapture Europe‘s late ’80s magic since the band has sadly moved on from that style of music ever since reforming back in the early 2000s.

Track List:
01. Twilight
02. Hanging On
03. In A Million Years
04. Lighting Up My Dark
05. Staring At The Sun
06. The Warrior
07. Up To You
08. Ain’t Gonna Let You Go
09. Only You Can Teach Me How To Love Again
10. Not Tonight
Bonus Tracks:
11. Let The Good Times Rock (Live From The Heat)
12. Burning Heart (Live From The Heat)
13. Momentum (Instr.) (Live From The Heat)
14. Superstitious (Live From The Heat)

Band Members:
Tommy Heart – lead vocals
Kee Marcello – guitar, keyboards, backing vocals
Ken Sandin – bass, backing vocals
Darby Todd – drums

Additional Musicians:
Don Airey – keyboards (1, 3, 4, 9)
Samuel Olsson – keyboards (11-14)

Produced by Kee Marcello (1-10)
Mixed by Ron Nevison (1-10)
Drums recorded and engineered by Jason Herrmann (1-10)
Produced by Tommy Heart (11-14)
Mixed by Sebastian “Basi” Roeder (11-14)
Recorded by Jacky Lehmann (11-14)

Reviewed by Olivier for Sleaze Roxx, June 2021

Out of This World‘s Out of This World album trailer: