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Only Human
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Poley/Rivera
Only Human
Angel Milk Records
2008
Melodic Hard Rock
Mark Balogh
www.tedpoley.com
www.myspace.com/poleyrivera
Rating:
3.5 stars

So here we have it… the long-awaited collaboration between DANGER DANGER voice Ted Poley and multi-instrumental wiz and all around good guy Vic Rivera! The two have worked together on Poley’s two previous solo discs-“Collateral Damage” (2006) and “Smile” (2007)-- but this is the first time Rivera has taken a step into the spotlight as he’s given equal billing in the groups’ moniker and I’d say it not only adds a cosmetic appeal but it also gives a slight bit more of an edge to the proceedings overall.

The record opens with a great riff on the track “Keep On Fighting” and right off the bat I thought this record was going to be firecracker. Then the always-melodic vocals of Poley kick in and it feels a bit more familiar. I wasn’t sure of the track as an opener when I first heard it but after repeated listening, I think it really is the perfect choice to get things under way on this record. The song features some nice edgy guitar work from Rivera and the aforementioned melodic vocals of Poley along with the catchy, spot-on melodic choruses you’ve come to love if you’re a fan of Poley’s.

The second track is possibly my favorite track on the whole record. “Top Of The World” is one of the most immediate and catchy tracks I’ve heard in a long, long time. This truly is what I envisioned when I thought of a Poley/Rivera union. It’s the best parts of Poley’s solo works and of Rivera’s other band’s ADRIANGALE and CRUNCH all rolled into one! The chorus is so catchy and immediate you’ll find yourself singing it from first listen. It’s definitely a front-runner for one of my top songs of the year.

As if “Top” wasn’t good enough, next up is “Only Human.” This track has been around since it first made its appearance on the Melodicrock.com Volume 3 Compilation CD back in 2006. It’s in almost stark contrast to the previous song, as it is more moody and in the power ballad vein. The song has been in strong running with the previous track for my favorite on the record during my initial spins of the album.

Track 4 is one which I was lucky enough to get a preview of live in concert recently as Poley (with Rivera in tow) opened a show for Joe Lynn Turner here in NJ. The song is another strong one with a catchy and memorable chorus.

After that, the record takes another pleasant turn and harkens back to the more moody vibe of the track “Only Human.” It really is amazing that when Poley and Rivera are on their game the songs are almost close to perfect melodic rock/AOR. The two seem to work well together and all the pieces just seem to be in place as the songs are ones that can embed themselves in your head and make you sing along long after you’ve stopped playing the record.

Now the reason I mention what I just did is because I’m afraid to say the record seems to take a dip (albeit just a slight dip) in quality and class after track 5 in my opinion. The songs seem to become more cliché and not as immediate for me. As I listened I seem to remember getting this same feeling with past Poley-involved offerings—including the beloved DANGER DANGER. I love Ted’s voice but it seems he almost has got himself pigeon-holed into a style that he has made his name on… that being the “cock rock” styling of the great DD. Don’t get me wrong. I love DANGER DANGER as they truly have penned some anthems of the genre but they’ve also put out some truly clichéd songs in the lyrical department. I don’t think Ted (and Vic for that matter) need to do that anymore in this stage of the game. Not when I hear what they are capable of with songs like the ones on the first half of this record. And as I listen to tracks like “The Bigger They Come” and “Fire At Will” I just seem to get that feeling.

Don’t let me get you thinking it all took a turn for the worse, because the second half of the album does have some nice moments (“Delirious” and “Breathe Deep”) but I wish the guys had kept up the classier moments throughout the record. I think this could have truly been a great release but for now I will call it a nice debut—one which I look forward to them building on in the future.


Band Lineup:
  • Ted Poley – Vocals
  • Vic Rivera – Guitars, Bass, Drums, Vocals
    *no further info. on musicians at press time as we reviewed a digital copy of the album as supplied by the record company, Anglemilk Records.

 

Track Listing:
  1. Keep On Fighting
  2. Top Of The World
  3. Only Human
  4. Did We Just Have A Moment
  5. Insanity
  6. NWS
  7. The Bigger They Come
  8. Delirious
  9. Fire At Will
  10. Breathe Deep
  11. Crossing The Ocean

 

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