Thursday, January 28, 2010

Review: Vertical Horizon "Burning the Days"

After a near 6 year break, Vertical Horizon has quietly crept back with a new CD entitled, "Burning the Days". The record picks up right where "Go" left off, serving up light rock with a punch, made more interesting thanks to the signature delivery of capable vocalist Matt Scannell.

Vertical Horizon gets a little help from friends on this offering. Neil Peart (Rush drummer) lends a hand on "Save Me From Myself", "Welcome To The Bottom", and "Even Now", which he also co-wrote. Richard Marx tickles the ivories on the schmaltzy ballad, "Here", a song that would sound right at home on one of his recent CDs. Marx also lends a hand producing some of Scannell's vocals. In case you missed it, Marx and Scannell have been quite the collaborators recently; Scannell helped Marx remember what it is like to rock on his CD "Emotional Remains" (see review here).

Fans of the last two Vertical Horizon records should delight in "Burning the Days". Nothing is as intensely radio-friendly as their hits "Everything You Want" or "You're a God" - it takes a couple spins, but great rewards await as the hooks begin to reveal themselves. Like many of Scannell's songs, the verses can be a bit quiet and mundane, but he more than makes up for that with a soaring and memorable chorus. No song really races past mid-tempo, so listening to the album all the way through can be a chore, especially towards the end where the songs get significantly longer but less interesting. But in isolation, many of these songs are terrific, and to hear Scannell's voice back in action is a real treat. Highlights for me include "All Is Said and Done", "The Lucky One", "The Middle Ground", and "Carrying On".

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 9

Vertical Horizon on MySpace. Official site.

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