In the realm of AOR/Hard Rock, there are a lot of bands that stand out whether it be for a great vocalist or guitar player, great arrangements, great musicianship or, simply, great songs. Names like Journey, Survivor, Toto, or Asia almost immediately spring to mind. But what about bands like Honeymoon Suite, Alien, or Valentine? All great bands in their own right but they just never reached that certain plateau which could have pushed them over the top. The same can be said about Finland’s own Prayer.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of bands like Honeymoon Suite, Alien, Valentine, and now, Prayer, but it just seems to me that no matter how hard some of these bands try, they just fall short or absolute greatness. Yes, I know… I know that even the best bands in the genre didn’t just burst onto the scene… well, maybe Asia as their first album was an absolute masterpiece, but Prayer’s first effort, “Wrong Address,” although “good”… just isn’t “great.”
As a whole, AOR fans should enjoy the release. It’s jam-packed with catchy melodies, heavy keyboards and coordinated harmonies. The opening track, “Secrets Of The Night,” is very comparable to that of something by Honeymoon Suite or Alien while “I’ve Been
Loving You” just absolutely SCREAMS a Survivor influence. Other notable tracks include “Anyone With A Broken Heart,” “Road To Freedom,” and “Running Wild In The Night” which is very interesting because if you listen real close, the intro almost sounds like a toned down version of the opening riff to the Scorpions “Rock You Like A Hurricane” but then continues on to remind me a bit of Valentine’s “Tears In The Night.”
On the heavier end, I really enjoyed the track “Who Wants To Be Free Again” which is a little more rockin’ than the rest of the arrangements. It starts off with a “mono” intro and includes some very nice harmonic guitar work and a solid keyboard solo which reminds me a little bit of something you might hear in the middle of a Kansas song. But I think the album peaks with the final track “Crossfire” which, again, is a little heavier than most of the other tracks but the overlaid guitar solos, some very nice harmonies and a good, solid chorus make this one a track to remember.
Prayer’s “Wrong Address” is a good first effort and definitely worth a listen if you are a fan of the genre. While the arrangements are somewhat simple and the lyrics sometimes mundane, the melodies are very strong and the harmonies can sometimes pack a powerful punch. Chalk this one up to experience, guys, and keep the good music coming and hopefully next time around, those “sparks” I heard can really turn into greatness.
- Tapani Tikkanen - Vocals & Guitar
- Markku Keski-Maenpaa - Lead Guitar & Background Vocals
- Mikko “Frank” Kuusiniemi - Lead Guitar & Background Vocals
- Jari Huvila - Keyboards
- Jaakko Pohjola - Bass
- Eki Ekfors - Drums
- Secrets of the Night
- I’ve Been Loving You
- Road To Freedom
- Running Wild In The Night
- Anyone With A Broken Heart
- End Of Time
- Never Gave It All
- I Want You
- Who Wants To Be Free Again
- Main Attraction