Released: 2016, Spinefarm Records
It has been 3 years since Reckless Love’s most successful album SPIRIT was released, the album reaching number 3 on the Finland music charts, while entertaining glam metal fans worldwide with its obvious 80s hair metal inspiration. The intervening years have not hampered the band’s feel-good, and upbeat approach, but from the opening track it is apparent that something is grievously wrong with the songwriting. The promotional material would have us believe that this is the band’s “boldest and most versatile outing so far.” Translation: This is an obvious play for crossover commercial acceptance at the expense of our hard won reputation earned through our first three albums.
We have a saying here in the states, that “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” I am sure that there is an equivalent in Finnish. INVADER is an overcorrection and an unnecessary one that really has me disappointed from the opening song. “We Are The Weekend” meekly begins things with many of the catchy elements the band has always employed but it sounds more like a North American pop rock band, not glam or sleaze metal. The DJ faux scratching that follows the first chorus is particularly egregious, and heck if you remove the guitars from this song it could pass for a Katy Perry tune. Sadly, I think that based on the rest of the album the band might be ok with that observation. The beginning synth pop that leads off “Child Of The Sun” had me believing I was listening to Deniece Richard’s “Let’s Hear It For The Boy”, from the frickin’ FOOTLOOSE soundtrack! Does it suck? Aye, and heartily. “Hands” is better, though the chorus just tries too hard to be trendy and arena-ready.
Best to get to the good songs since, for the first time, they are in the minority on a Reckless Love album. “Bullettime” is one such tune, a pulsing and relatively heavy track that proves the band still has the ability to write catchy choruses without trying so hard for a massive crossover hit. “Destiny” is another example of the band’s penchant for constructing melodic 80s glam, this not being far removed from what Def Leppard and Whitesnake were doing in the late 80s. “Let’s Get Cracking” might be the best of the bunch, with a heavy Van Halen guitar verse before vintage gang-vocals on the chorus.
Bottom line though, this is a play for mass appeal. Call it Reckless Love’s COLD LAKE, FIGHT FOR THE ROCK, DIGIMORTAL, THE BURNING RED or any other misguided attempt that bands have made in the quest for popularity over substance. Lest we forget, Reckless Love is on a supposed “independent” label that is a subsidiary of Universal Music Group. It would not shock me to find that there was label pressure on this album. Ah what’s the point? Three good songs out of eleven is the sum.
I am done with my rant. In this case, I will actually let a quote from the promotional flyer end things. Pay attention to the last line. It says it all. “A perfect example of this can be heard in latest single, "Monster", an ode to a modern kind of female. The song has echoes of theatrical rock legends such as Alice Cooper and Motley Crue, but there’s also a sly nod to `90s pop giants like Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears.” And it ain’t a slight nod folks.