Album Review: Lee Aaron - Radio On!
Reviewed by Jon Wigg
The fabulous Lee Aaron and her band are back with a new album, the third since her return to the rock world with 2016’s ‘Fire and Gasoline’ and 2018’s ‘Diamond Baby Blues’.
As a self confessed Aaron fan from the 1980’s, these 2 albums were a welcome return and ‘Radio On!’ really cements her position in the echelons of top rock vocalists.
12 radio-friendly hard rockers with a great variety of styles and tempos, from the upbeat opener ‘Vampin’’ to the slow melancholic ballad, ‘Devil’s Gold’. What is clear from the start is that this is a band that are comfortable together as for me, this is a step up from the last 2 albums, which were both excellent. The sound is defined and production spot on. Aaron’s voice soars when it needs to but her range is as good as ever, offering deeper tones, especially in the aforementioned, ‘Devil’s Gold’.
The instrumental performances are all excellent and at no point detract from the star of the show, which is rightly Lee’s vocals. This is best demonstrated on the cheeky little number ‘Russian Doll’ in which the bass and guitars are playfully matched by Lee’s singing to provide a highlight.
There are some proper radio tracks here - the title track which has a pop feel, ‘Had Me at Hello’ and the slower ‘Great Big Love’ slide directly into this category which isn’t a bad thing, but for me were the least memorable tracks here. ‘Cmon’ channels a bit of Pat Benetar and ‘Soul Breaker’ is probably the nearest on this album to Lee’s classic catalogue from Metal Queen or Call of the Wild. Great stuff.
Among my favourite ballads of all time is ‘Barely Holdin’ On’ from 1985’s ‘Call of the Wild’. It’s cheesy, powerful and dripping in the mid-80’s sound and I love it. The equivalent on this album is ‘Wasted’ and is a very different beast. A modern ballad which is subtle and beautiful, adding in some power chords towards the end, and showcasing Lee’s range of talents. This is also the case for the excellent album closer ‘Twenty One’ on which Lee is accompanied by a piano and gives a superb vocal performance.
Overall this is a modern rock album which highlights one of the best rock vocalists. Overall the quality is very high and while there are a couple of forgettable tracks, there are 8 or 9 tracks on this slab which will be knocking around in my head and on my playlists for a long time to come.