Review: Glasgow – Zero Four One
AOR Heaven (February 26th 2021)
Reviewer: Jason Hopper
Did you ever drive around and think, “Am I in the mood to listen to AOR or straight forward Hard Rock”? Well, now you can have both. Glasgow’s ‘Zero Four One‘ is a reissue of the band’s independently released 1987 album, with updated sound (some might use the term “brick walled”) especially with regards to the drums. The band’s sound is reminiscent of other bands from that era, but it is surprising to hear how effortlessly they transition between hard rock and more of an AOR sound throughout the album. Sometimes keyboards drive the song, sometime it’s the guitar. All instruments played with stellar precision.
Strangely enough, one of the weakest tracks on the album is the opener ‘We Will Rock‘. Sounding WAY too inspired by Helix’s ‘Rock You’ and Keel’s ‘The Right to Rock’, lead singer Michael Boyle’s vocal melodies just don’t seem to suit the song well. Songs about “rocking you” were all over the place at that time and these days songs like this sound way too contrived.
Thankfully, the low point gets out of the way early and the album takes off with ‘Secrets In The Dark‘. It’s at this point that the AOR sound becomes apparent, with keyboards carrying most of the melody line. It’s also at this point that you notice Mr. Boyle’s inspiration is clearly Steve Perry. His vocal stylings and approach to extending words in carrying the notes is certainly impressive (none more so than on the track ‘Under The Lights‘)
Other standout tracks include the slow build rocker ‘Back on the Run‘, bass thumping album closer ‘Breakout‘ and the ballad ‘No More Lonely Nights‘. Admittedly, I found ‘No More Lonely Nights‘ to be unimpressive until the four minute mark, which is when the chorus kicks in, and it got its hooks in me and refused to let go. Some might find it repetitive, as the chorus is repeated for nearly 1 1/2 minutes, but I loved every second of it.
For those who might previously own this album, there is a bonus track and I’m happy to report it’s one of my favorites. ‘Will You Be Mine‘ sounds like a leftover demo, but a good quality demo, with keyboards once again leading the charge and a chorus that rivals anything from its time period.
This was an absolute surprise, as I have never heard this band talked about by anyone in the circle of friends I keep. This album has something to offer for anyone who is into the melodic hard rock/AOR genre and if you’re a person who happens to love both (like me), then this is a must have album.