“Hard Times” is the third full lenght release from Vancouver born but Italy based rocker Max Navarro but the first one to be brought to my attention. So when editor-in-chief Chris handed me the disc I really didn't have a clue of the nature of the musical content but it turned out to be quite a pleasant getting to know one another.
Listening to the songs on “Hard Times” threw me right back to the era when artists like Rick Cua, Jimmy Davis, Rick Springfield, Glen Burtnick and John Kilzner were still very much active on the scene, putting out great but nowadays mostly forgotten melodic rock records. This being said though doesn't mean that the sounds produced by mister Navarro and his fellow band members are an exact blue print of any of the names mentioned but they certainly fit alongside these gentlemen.
Having grown up on a diet of Bon Jovi, Toto, Bryan Adams, Tom Petty, Dire Straits and Bruce Springsteen it doesn't come as a surprise that elements of some these acts (especially the latter 2) have found their way into the music presented here.
Now while the majority of melodic rock/AOR albums contains songs about the fortunes and misfortunes of human relationships, the lyrics on “Hard Times” deal with the the anger, frustration felt when society chews you up and spits you out. But it's by no means an aggressive record, on the contrary. It's abundant with melody and hooks and topped off by the slightly gruff vocals of Max that give the whole affair a dramatic edge.
My only quibble about the album concerns the production which isn't up to par with the quality of the songs and while not exactly ruining the listening experience, it does affect the overall result in a negative way. And that is a bit of a shame cause a better production job would really have made this song collection shine. (PS
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bad production and worse vocals make that I won't play this one twice
some nice compoositions maybe...
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