Review: Night Ranger – Don’t Let Up

Night Ranger – Don’t Let Up

Frontiers Music Srl (March 2017)

Reviewer: Peter Scallan

Over the years Nightranger have produced some of the best US-based melodic rock, especially in the 80s. Having said that, they probably fell foul of their own success with film soundtrack successes they had not necessarily being representative of their sound. They are also one of the best live acts you are ever likely to see and seem to consistently put superb live performances. The studio output has probably been less consistent, but none the less is still pretty impressive. The last two releases have seen them on fine form, so I was looking forward this one.

The opening song ‘Somehow Someway‘ comes thundering out of the traps with guns blazing. The sound is certainly more guitar driven and even slightly heavier than previous offerings. However, it still retains the trademark melody we have come to expect of Night Ranger. ‘Running Out of Time‘ kicks off with a great riff and then into some excellent twin lead guitar work, feature of this album. Having listened to this album a lot in the car, I was racking my brain to think whey I thought the riff sounded familiar. I eventually realised it sounded like a track called All Fired Up by Glasgow’s Killing From A Distance, having seen them recently. ‘Truth‘ has an almost FM-like quality to it, albeit slightly more ballsier. This is demonstrated in the chorus with with vocal melodies working around the twin lead guitars nestling in the background. ‘Day and Night‘ kicks off with a dirty bluesy feel and then breaks down into a verse sung over thundering drums. The chorus then picks up the pace with double pace drum beat. The title track ‘Don’t Let Up‘ opens with more harmony guitars which again are reminiscent of FM and flows nicely in to a great chorus.

The blues feel hinted at in Truth comes to the fore in ‘(Won’t Be Your) Fool Again‘ with a great staccato riff and some bottleneck guitar. With a riff Keef Richards would be pleased with, this number bounces along with a great chorus falsetto sounding backing vocal! ‘Say What you Want‘ is the type of melodic pacey rocker we came to expect on the first five Night Ranger albums. It moves swiftly along with a great vocal. The pace is changed somewhat for ‘We Can Work It Out‘ which is built around the drum pattern and some acoustic guitar picking. It has a great harmony lead vocal and a killer chorus in my book. ‘Comfort Me‘ takes the feel back up a level and has some great duelling lead guitar work as well as some great harmonies. Jamie also opens up harmony guitars and builds on the previous song in terms of pace and feel. While I like the song, for me it’s easily the weakest song on the album. We are the last track which opens with just acoustic guitar and vocals and in places sounds a little like Oasis! That it until the killer chorus spectacular chorus kicks in. Entitled ‘Nothing Left of Yesterday‘, the verse/bridges contrast perfectly the huge powerful vocal in the chorus. Great stuff!

I’ve got to admit, the first couple of spins of this album and I thought Night Ranger have blown it here! But, I like to give albums a chance to reveal themselves to me over a number of plays and this one certainly did! It is certainly heavier and more guitar orientated than previous efforts, but it is a real grower. If you like Night Ranger, you will love this but give it time to grow and you and I guarantee you will love it!