REVIEW: FIND ME – “Dark Angel”
It’s admirable and uplifting to see the head of a record company releasing records by bands and artists that they themselves enjoy. In this case, the band (or partnership) was also formed by the head of the record company, thankfully though, not in the same shameful fashion as Simon Cowell does with his minions. Find Me is a collaboration by Frontiers Music srl President, Serafino Perugion, consisting of Swedish songwriter, musician and producer Daniel Flores (Issa, Seventh Wonder, The Murder of My Sweet) and vocalist Robbie LaBlanc of Blanc Faces. Their aim is a modest one: to unleash the next AOR (Album-oriented rock) giant. Their debut album, ‘Wings of Love’ received high praise from critics and a demand for more from fans. With their next release ‘Dark Angel’ looming on the horizon, have Find Me finally cracked it?
The first track, aptly named “Nowhere to Hide”, leaves no room for uncertainty as to where their inspiration comes from. Kicking off a twelve-track album, it blatantly and shamelessly references the big rock synth sounds of the 1980’s. The remaining tracks in the album’s first quarter follow suit, with “Let Love Rule” and “Forever” riddled with palm-muted verses, big solos and anthemic choruses that would do any 80’s movie soundtrack proud. “Forever” stands above the rest, and could easily be the song both Def Leppard and Van Halen lost in a bet. Diversity is found as well on “Another Day” as Angelica Rylin lends her vocal talents, which shake and set the track apart from the rest thus far, even if it won’t be finding itself being shortlisted for one the great music duets.
‘Dark Angel’ is full of songs and sounds that could easily be slipped into any Leppard, Whitesnake or Roxette‘s set list (to name but a few) from that period. But the title track, “Dark Angel” is another beast altogether. No pleasure is found in pointing out that when this track hits the chorus; if you were to replace the lyrics with those of Miley Cyrus’s ‘Wrecking Ball’, you would simply have a rocked-up version of the exact same song. Oh, the shame!
“Bleed in the Rain” marks the halfway point, and vocally, LaBlanc delivers this gentle ballad with a sincerity that shines through. This is saying something, for even though it’s full to the brim with cheesey lines such as “my heart keeps whispering your name,” it would be inhuman not to give in to it! A standout track and a tough one to follow as follow up track, “Face to Face” makes plain, unfortunately falling flat.
‘Dark Angel’ picks up steam again with what appears to be a two-parter, though this is not specified. The regularly recycled title and chorus hook line, “Where do I go from here?” demands audience participation, and it would be an insult not to succumb to its fist-in-air bellows! Tomb fade-outs on drums are one of many 80’s trademarks and one of many references to the decade, including the end of this track which leads in to “Midnight Memories”. “Where do we go from here?” is the opening lyric and starts the listener down the road of this radio-friendly, lost 80’s anthem. The album closes with “Don’t Slip Away”, “Did You Feel Any Love” and “I’m Free”, where only the quality of the engineering and technology brings it into the 21st century.
There is nothing on ‘Dark Angel’ that anyone with a vague sense of music history has not heard before, and you’re going to get nowhere if you look to Find Me to make any huge strides in the rock and/or metal scene today. Like Tenacious D, they’re something of a novelty act doing a damn good job at bringing styles so many know and love into a contemporary, digital era. No, the next “Livin’ on a Prayer” or “Here I Go Again” is not to be found here amongst these lost anthems. What you will find is a healthy reminder that it does not matter how many Facebook hits, YouTube followers and teeny boppers you have following you; nothing beats a good rock anthem. ‘Dark Angel’ is a treat for anyone who grew up, or simply enjoys, the big rock music soundtrack of the 80’s! Just give in to it, for resistance is futile.