Released: 2011, Frontiers
These melodic Hard rockers has always had a decent amount of respect in the Hard Rock and Metal community. I’ve admired their tenacity over the years, plying tunes that some would consider dated, but I consider the classic Night Ranger sound. SOMEWHERE IN CALIFORNIA is eleven cuts and 55 minutes of pure 80’s styled bliss. It’s their 10th studio album and it’s the best one since BIG LIFE. The band continues their tradition of pretty dull album covers with the classic logo upfront and center. Line-up their catalogue and you will see what I mean and this one doesn’t help the bands career long struggle with establishing a strongly unique identity either.
The core of Jack, Kelly and Brad are still intact and this is the first album to feature Joel Hoekstra, even though he has been in the band for several years, he joined after the recording of hole in the sun. It sounds like he is an able replacement for the departed Reb Beach. The production is bright and clear and a bit punchier than the last few.
I feel this is one of the bands fastest and heaviest albums. Thick crunchy guitar, drive the songs along at a nice pace and layered overtop of all that are the great harmonized vocals we have come to know and love from the band. Another nice point are the great power ballads. With it’s piano intro and incredibly catchy chorus, the tune ‘Time Of Our Lives’ is easily a strong contender for ballad of the year.
The songs are so strong, so fun, well written, again this is easily their best album in many, many years. It’s nice to see a band now past their 30th anniversary (and well into their 5th decade in music business) making some of their best material. Highly recommended. If you haven’t checked out Night Ranger since the late 80’s, now is the time to back on board.