The only time you should ever look back, is to see how far you’ve come. It’s impossible NOT to look back, but it’s interesting to note that the motives for doing so are mixed, and will change. Looking back for the purposes of determining what you could change about things is helpful, if not mandatory: otherwise you’re likely to simply repeat the same mistakes over and over. If you look back without anything but nostalgia, then that may not be healthy.
I often look back to bands and artists I listened to in my youth, my formative years and listen again to the songs that defined who I was and where I was going at the time but, I for one, have often experienced a huge let down when I realise the music isn’t relevant to the present, the now and where I am in my life. If the bands have progressed (see where I went with that, progressive rock eh?) in their music then, generally, they will still be relevant to me in my present situation but, if not, then the music can feel stagnant, stuck in the past and just, well, boring and formulaic. Kick have been likened to a modern twist on the melodic, memorable hard rock of the 80’s that was produced by such luminaries as Def Leppard, Dokken and Alice Cooper. Would their new release leave me nostalgic for times gone by or would it leave me thankful I have moved on?
Hailing from the UK, Kick is, basically, Mikey and Chris Jones, 2 brothers that have played together in various incarnations since the early 80’s. Chris plays guitars and Mikey is the vocalist and bass player, although, on this album, Mikey plays the drums as well. Their last album, New Horizon, was released in 2004 and tours with Thunder and Magnum brought them much acclaim. 2013 sees the release of their new album, Memoirs. The songs on Memoirs are true to the tradition of kick and carry the tradition of the British power-melody combination.
Listening to the album you do get a sense of being transported back to the 80’s with that hard rock, bar room blues feel. The vocals have that smoky, whiskey soaked edge to them that all hard rock singers try to emulate, some with greater success than others and, on Memoirs, Mikey Jones tends to get the vocals right on the majority of the tracks. The musicianship is of a high quality, great guitar work, energetic drums and quality bass but (yes, there’s a but) at no time do you feel that anything has been polished and upgraded and brought kicking and screaming into the noughties. It is very formulaic hard rock with a blues tinge to it. The album does have some highlights, opening track, Doesn’t Take Much, is a hard rock bruiser, Thrill Seeking Junkie has a serious Leppard edge to it and rattles along nicely and Radio is another class hard rock contribution with searing guitar and hard edged vocals. Unfortunately the first 3 tracks on the album are, definitely, the stand out highlights. From there on in it tends to walk the line of, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I found that, Come Back, Urban Refugee and the majority of the rest of the songs tended to blend into each other, very competent hard rock but nothing out of the ordinary and special. Round and Round is a nice little track that puts itself forward as the rock anthem of the album quite convincingly but it’s nothing you haven’t heard before. Words of Advice and Highway to the Sun offer more of that competent but routine hard rock. The Future’s Ours is another foray into the harder edge of the album, nice guitar work but, again, you know you’ve heard it somewhere before. Never Lost That Feeling tries really hard to lift itself above the conventional with a seriously cool guitar opening and is a good track but never lifts its head above the parapet of greatness. The last track on the album, Nothing More to Say, is another entrant into competent, above average hard rock anthem and, generally, sums up the whole album, good but never quite achieving greatness.
To be honest, Memoirs has left me feeling slightly underwhelmed, it is good old fashioned hard rock from the 80’s done very well but, in no way, is it updated for the modern world and, if it wasn’t for the quality musicianship on show (especially the great guitar) it would be average indeed. Worth a listen if you’re a hard rock child of the 80’s but I have already moved on to my next project.