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DANTE FOX
Breathless
2016
Melodic Rock/ AOR
Mark Balogh
www.dantefox.com
www.facebook.com/DanteFoxBreathless/

Rating:
4.0 Stars

Britian’s DANTE FOX has returned with their new record “Breathless” and a fine slice of female-fronted British AOR/melodic rock it is. In my opinion this band has never released an even remotely unsatisfying album. We continue to get more of that perfect mix of 80’s-flavored British AOR and melodic rock with the perfectly suited vocals of Sue Willetts Manford.

“Breathless” might not totally break a lot of new ground with their sound but it’s oh so satisfying and some of the songs really are their strongest to date. If you’re a fan, “Breathless” makes for yet another enjoyable listen from the group.  There has always been something endearing and even familiar about Willetts vocals as I always thought of a mix between Robin Beck and Fiona Flanagan with a slight bit of Sandi Saraya thrown in at times. It has an undeniable 80’s melodic rock flair and has always fit the style of music the band offers.


On “Breathless” you get ten new tracks (plus an added acoustic version of one of the songs) of enjoyable melodic rock with plenty of AOR keys to go around, courtesy of Eric Ragno, who jumped in at the last minute to provide his talents once again to the band. Tim Manford’s guitar playing is tasteful and as half of the (married) songwriting team with Sue forms a formidable partnership.


The new album opens with “Young Hearts” and it breaks out of the gate with stabbing keyboards, sharp guitars and driving drums. It’s a great way to get things started and would also make for a great live opener in my opinion. Manford’s guitar solo is well thought out and adds to the overall proceedings. “All Eyes On You” is a great mid-tempo keyboard driven track highlighted by strong vocals from Willetts. The title track, “Breathless” is a favorite. It’s a slower rocker with a flair of SARAYA from their “Blackbird” album. The song is part moody and part epic without being totally overblown and it just has a great vibe. “Break These Chains” is a mid-tempo rocker that is dominated by the keyboards of Ragno and the powerful vocals of Willetts. “Broken-Hearted Man” is a super melodic AOR track with ultra catchy chorus. Sounds like a female-led version of SURVIVOR if you will. It’s a great track. For me “I Can’t Stop Tonight” harkens back to the early days of the first album, think “Lost And Lonely Heart” without being quite as lofty as that brilliant track. It even reminds me of early SARAYA at times too. “Dynamite (Your Love Is Like)” is a mid-tempo song and again has some early SARAYA flair and a good amount of keyboards are on offer too. “A Love Affair” is the ballad of the album but is more in the power ballad mold and ultimately doesn’t grab my attention but the guitar work is strong though. “How Will You Know (Where To Find Me)” is a full-on rocker with a slight TEN feel including its swirling and stabbing keys and Manford’s guitar solo is another winner too. The short two minute “Creeps Into My Mind” ends the album on a soft note with acoustic and vocals taking front stage while the previously featured “Broken-Hearted Man” is given an acoustic treatment with some piano and electric guitar added to make a nice arrangement. Being one of the strongest tracks on the record it’s interesting to hear this different take on it as a bonus to the original. I’m guessing the band thought the song was so nice they’d do it twice and if so I agree!


All in all “Breathless” is another strong album in the career of DANTE FOX. If you are a fan of female AOR/melodic rock this is one for you.   

 


Band Lineup:
  • Sue Willetts Manford – Vocals
  • Tim Manford – Guitars, Backing vocals
  • Alan Mills – Bass, Backing vocals
  • Andy Perfect – Drums
  • Eric Ragno – Keyboards

 

Track Listing:
  1. Young Hearts
  2. All Eyes On You
  3. Breathless
  4. Break These Chains
  5. Broken-Hearted Man
  6. I Can’t Stop Tonight
  7. Dynamite (Your Love Is Like)
  8. A Love Affair
  9. How Will You Know (Where To Find Me)
  10. Creeps Into My Mind
  11. Broken-Hearted Man (acoustic version)




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