Review: Ozone – Self Defence

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Review: Ozone – Self Defence

Escape (2015)

Reviewer: Peter Scallan

Ozone I hear you say! Who the hell are Ozone? Well let me tell you! Yes, it’s another project album which seems to be driven by none other than Mike Slamer of City Boy and Streets fame. It also features the talents of Tommy Denander. However, this is the best bit for me – it features two vocalists and they are none other than Chris Ousey and Steve Overland. Geddit? O-zone? I certainly do!

Unlike most albums I review where I turn out the review fairly quickly and the opinion is fairly reactive, I have lived with this album for over a month. It’s been getting played in the car frequently on my daily journeys. Consequently this review is probably more considered than most of my previous efforts.

The album starts with ‘Tiger by the Tail’ which for me is very reminiscent of the second Streets album being a mid-paced rocker with the man (Overland) and golden tonsils (Ousey) sharing lead vocals across the song. This is quickly followed by a bluesy funky number called ‘Let the Good Will Out’ which really suits both voices and features some stellar guitar work too.

The pace is slowed down for ‘So Blind’ which is an acoustic-driven power ballad which features the man and golden tonsils harmonising and trading adlibs. ‘Destiny’ is next and opens sounding like another Streets offcut but sounds very much like FM in the main body of the song with the man leading the vocal charge as only he can with no offense intended for golden tonsils!

Quite possibly my favourite on the album! The Streets reference is still relevant for ‘Shadow on the Sun’ and this rocks along nicely with Os trading vocal licks again. Next is ‘Save My Soul’ which was strangely missing from my version of the album initially. This sounds like a cross between Streets and Foreigner which is no bad thing in my books.

‘Evolve’ opens with a bluesy rocking guitar riff and develops into a high tempo rocker breaking down into a half-time bridge before delivering a killer harmonised chorus with the man and golden tonsils giving it some. Quickly following is the title track opening with harmonised guitars and keyboards and developing into another Streets style rocker with what sounds like some interspersed wah-wah guitar. It’s a ‘get in, kick you in the melodic nuts, and get back out quickly’ rocker coming well under four minutes with the majority of songs being five minutes plus.

The superbly titled ‘Smile Before You Lie’ (sounds like a few females I have encountered in my time!) again has a guitar-riff and song structure which reminds me of Street’s second album and motors along very nicely. ‘Lifetime’ has a dark brooding bluesy riff and is a real slow burner padded nicely with some Hammond organ.

The two Os work well together to bring this song to life and really go for it. The penultimate song is ‘Practice What You Preach’ which has some great backing vocals on it and has the man and golden tonsils trading licks and harmonising vocally again to good effect. Album closer ‘Visionary Man’ is fast-paced rocker and for me quite possibly is the weakest song on the album and doesn’t really do it for me.

What can I say about this album in terms of summarising it? Well, for me this album is a classic demonstration of the old adage of ‘the singer(s) not the song’. There are some great songs on here but not as stunning as you might find on an FM album and certainly not at the standard of the last FM album. However, as I was at pains to point in my review of the afore-mentioned FM album, when the man opens his mouth he can lift the ordinary to spectacular and he does on here. And not forgetting the additional treat of golden tonsils chipping in his tuppence worth. I would hazard a guess that you could get these guys to sing a collection of kid’s lullabies and it would sound awesome. For me as a fellow vocalist aspiring to mediocrity, the album is worth buying just to hear the man and golden tonsils sing their respective nuts off! Gentleman, I doff my hat to you both!