Back in the early 2000’s I was asked to write CD reviews for a Brazilian website that no longer exists. I really enjoyed doing that. I was used to reviewing two new releases, one live album and one “classic” album. Years later, I started working on gig reviews and interviews, and it was also a blast. I reviewed Firefest in 2011 and 2012. Since then, time was short because of my work and my taking care of my own band, so I hardly ever review either gigs or albums anymore. But this one does deserve a closer look and people do theserve the chance to hear about it... We are talking about Autograph’s new EP, “Louder”.
Autograph used to be one of my favorite bands back in the mid-80’s; their three albums were classic when it comes to the hard rock / hair band era. I was really disappointed when the band broke up in either 1988 or 1989, I can’t really remember when exactly. Come on, who doesn’t remember classic tunes as "Send Her to Me", "Night Teen & Non-Stop", "That's the Stuff", "Blondes In Black Cars", "Six String Fever", "Loud and Clear", "Dance All Night", "She Never Looked That Good For Me", "When The Sun Goes Down" and it’s not necessary to mention their biggest hit ever, "Turn Up The Radio", Just to name a few of them. The world suddenly “lost” the combination of the great songwriting by Steve Plunkett, the amazing guitar work of Steve Lynch... Not good at all... Years later the “Missing Pieces” album was released, showing the band had potential hit singles with songs such as "Heart Attack", "Sanctuary" and especially one of my favorites, "Angel in Black". It was bitter to remember a band that “could have been” much more than they had been. Other than “Missing Pieces”, Steve Plunkett released his solo album, continued his songwriting work and released another Autograph album named “Buzz”; drummer Keni Richards was in a band called Dirty White Boy and little else was known about the other band members. Keyboardist Steve Isham’s dying in 2008 was also devastating news. I never really thought I would hear of Autograph again, until the band reunited in 2013.
Original members Steve Lynch, Keni Richards (later replaced by drummer Marc Wieland) and bassist Randy Rand joined forces with singer Simon Daniels (formerly of Agent X, 1RKO and Flood – I had been a fan of Simon’s since his Jailhouse days and I was lucky enough to become good friends with him – Steve and Randy couldn’t have chosen anyone better!!!!) and the band started touring. Meanwhile, three digital singles were released, and anyone could see that the magic was still there, after so many years!
I was lucky enough to meet the “new” Autograph when they played at Firefest, in England, a couple of years ago. I was really curious and excited to see my buddy Simon Daniels singing the band’s old hits, and all I can say about it is that, when their show was over, I came to him and told him I was so proud of him. Those who think Autograph is not Autograph without Steve Plunkett are so very wrong about it. Plunkett was great when He was great. Now it’s Simon’s time to really show what He can do as a Singer, frontman and songwriter!
So, after this long introduction, let’s get down to business and talk about Autograph’s new EP, “Louder”. Released on January 7th, 2016 and written, produced and released by the band themselves (I still can’t figure out why it’s a self-released EP, since there are still big labels releasing this kind of music), it sounds killer!!! To be honest, one can barely miss Steve Plunkett’s songwriting all over the EP.
TRACK BY TRACK
01 - "You Are Us, We Are You"
The first song is "You Are Us, We Are You", which was the first one of the digital singles mentioned above. It’s a hard rock, catchy tune that reminds us of old school Autograph songs. Great lyrics and a nice (would one expect less?) guitar solo by Steve Lynch.
02 - “I Lost My Mind In America”
The EP's second single, comes next, bringing a heavier guitar riff and, at the same time, it’s a very melodic song. Steve Lynch’s guitar solo is amazing on this one!
03 - “Every Generation”
“Every Generation”, the third single off the EP comes next, another catchy tune and maybe my favorite track here. Great lyrics, amazing song. Must I say that Steve’s guitar solo on this one is great? Well, I guess not!!!!
04 - “Watch It Now”
Being the last single off "Louder", “Watch It Now” is somewhat different from the other ones, with a heavier, groovy edge that makes “Louder” na even more interesting release. How about Steve’s guitar solo? Well, the Best one all over this EP.
05 - “Turn up The Radio” (Live)
The fifth and last song here is a live version of Autograph’s biggest hit, “Turn up The Radio”. It was maybe included here to show that the band can perform any of the old stuff perfectly, no matter if it’s if the new members or the old ones. Simon Daniels Just kicks ass singing it. Obviously, his voice is different from Steve Plunkett’s, but come on, they are different people, different singers, as I had mentioned before.
One may think only Steve Lynch shines on this release. One couldn’t be more mistaken. Both bassist Randy Rand and drummer Marc Weiland perform the songs perfectly. Simon Daniels is the right Singer for Autograph, and that’s a fact. Period. If I could rate “Louder” with “stars” Just like old magazines did in the past, it would certainly be a five-star one. Grab it while you can at http://www.autographband.com/ .
Now, the news is that Autograph is preparing a full-length, brand new album, to be released until the end of 2016. All I can say is that the band's fans, and all the fans of the great 80's glam, hard, melodic rock genre just can't wait for it!!!!