I have no idea why they called this album ‘Speedway’. Almost every song is a ballad. The pace has nothing about it that could even be remotely linked to that title as far as I can see. I guess I don’t strictly need to see the significance. It’s not like it’s the worst title in history (that would be Bring Me The Horizon) it just feels like they’ve picked a name out of a hat. I get the ‘life is a speedway’ link in the opening track ‘Kickin Up Dust’ but that’s a bit of a stretch for me.
To be perfectly honest with the exception of possibly two or three tracks this whole album sounds like it’s been marketed for teenage girls – from the 80s. There is little or no innovation in the way of lyrical content – almost all love and heartache and not in any new or fresh way. There is a strong nostalgia feel to this album. A lot of people love that, me included but I still need something new.
The only real joy instrumentally is some very decent guitar and keyboards. The vocal harmonies are pretty damn good but for the most part they simply do not sound like they belong on a rock album. I just can’t take this too seriously. It’s everything that is cheesy about rock (when it is rock) and fair enough, some people really love that. But even then, there are only really a handful of songs that could fall in to the rock category. ‘Unbreakable’, ‘Kickin Up Dust’ and ‘Better Days’ are ok – they sound like a rock band. But, if you listen to ‘Wrapped Up In These Arms’ it sounds like an early 90s boy band with some instruments thrown in.
I’m being harsh, I know. If these guys can sing about something else for a change and make their rock elements more prominent, then maybe I could really enjoy a solid rock album. I’ll come on to some good parts. ‘Unbreakable’ is easily, easily the highest point on the album and the only real peak, and you could definitely see it being played to thousands in a field in the summer. It’s just right for everything we love about rock ballads, with a hard hitting chorus that resonates and it is very memorable. It’s something a lot of older rock fans will appreciate because the cheesyness of it is exactly the correct proportion. Not only that, it has an undeniable ‘feel good’ factor to it. ‘Does It Feel Like Love’ has similar qualities, but that’s a cover.
The drummer also did the production and he has done a fine job – you can hear everything very clearly and the levels are spot on. All too often when people try to self-produce their own albums it sounds awful. Not here. Everything is right. Also, it’s not like they can’t play their instruments or anything. You can clearly tell they all have experience, years of it, which is all the more puzzling as to why they have decided to channel it in to something that is ultimately quite basic.
In summary, Blood Red Saints and the not at all speedy ‘Speedway’ album do not really deliver anything new on the rock front. Too much focus on one theme with a disproportionate number of ballads and a simplistic formula that almost makes them sound like they’ve been jigsawed together – and they haven’t so that’s unfortunate.
1. Kickin’ Up Dust
3. Best Of Me
5. Love Set Me Up Again
6. Better Days
7. The Best Thing
9. Wrapped Up In These Arms
10. CGRNR – Feels A Lot Like Love
Playing Time: 48:53
Release date: December 4th, 2015
Label: Frontiers Music srl