STANDING ON THE EDGE
Released on May 7, 2021 (Frontiers Music Srl)
Last year, Black Swan‘s Shake The World was the album I chose for Album of the Year. Although I don’t think it took the number one slot on Sleaze Roxx‘s Top 10, it did well for itself and a lot of why hinged on the powerful vocals, even now, of veteran rocker Robin McAuley. So, when Frontiers released the video for the first track off McAuley‘s new solo album, I was more than ready to slap down my hard earned money for it. My hopes were for it to be Black Swan II, a continuation of the power and groove of that album. The result? Not exactly what I was hoping for. But, not bad by any means.
If I was to describe the album to someone who has not heard it, I would call it Black Swan meets Dokken meets Sunstorm. Sunstorm, during their days with Joe Lynn Turner as the vocalist, was a supergroup of sorts that produced really catchy songs with great production yet you just knew there was little to no chance you would ever hear those songs performed live. That is what really took me out of those albums because they would release great stuff and never tour. That is the way of things when it comes to these projects and I’m afraid Standing On The Edge will be much the same.
So, a few memorable tracks are “Thy Will be Done” which is the opening track. My earlier remarks about Sunstorm? See this track! Pretty much could be a Sunstorm track. Next is the title track “Standing On The Edge.” The track features guitar work that might as well be “When Heaven Comes Down” by Dokken mixed with a little “Unchain The Night.” The lyrics, however, are less about love gone wrong which almost every hit Dokken song is about. It almost sounds like a story about homeless veterans. I remember coming out of an AC/DC concert in 2008 and having a scum bag in front of me shove down a homeless man who was clearly a veteran. After chasing off the jerk, I gave the veteran some of my pocket change. They fought for us then. We should fight for them now. But, I’ll step off my soap box.
“Late December” is a love song about making it through the tough times. It doesn’t land for me. It just feels like the end of days… Like there is more road in the rear view mirror than out the view of the windshield. But, hey, maybe I’m thinking too much about it. “Do You Remember” reminds me a lot of a few songs by Sammy Hagar and Whitesnake respectively. It has that mid-tempo, bluesy thing going on with very catchy grooves. I really like this track. “Supposed To Do Now” is a very nice mid-tempo song that gets stuck in your head. With the almost native drum work after the chorus, it almost reminds me in a way of Jackyl‘s “Rock A Ho” off the Push Comes to Shove album. “Running Out of Time” is the heaviest track and probably my favorite. An angry song about love gone wrong, this one probably is the closest to a Black Swan song on the album.
Yet, nothing is all that far removed from that album either. Robin sounds a tad strained at times keeping up with the fast, hard rocker but he masks it well. And, straining means you’re trying, does it not? There are some clunkers… Some softer songs that just don’t land. And, some mid-tempo songs that I just can’t find myself really buying. But, as a whole, it is a good album. Unless some of the upcoming albums by Hardline or Crazy Lixx really blow my socks off, I’d find it hard to imagine this album won’t at least crack my Top 5 for 2021’s Sleaze Roxx awards. But, the year is still young-ish. So, we shall see. Nevertheless, it is a game effort by a veteran rocker I’ve always admired.
01. Thy Will Be Done
02. Standing On The Edge
03. Late December
04. Do You Remember
05. Say Goodbye
06. Chosen Few
07. Run Away
08. Supposed To Do Now
09. Wanna Take A Ride
10. Like A Ghost
11. Running Out Of Time
Robin McAuley – lead vocals
Andrea Seveso – guitar
Alessandro Del Vecchio – bass, keyboards
Nicholas Papapicco – drums
Howard Leese – guitar (8)
Produced by Alessandro Del Vecchio
Robin McAuley‘s “Standing On The Edge” video:
Robin McAuley‘s “Say Goodbye” video: