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House Of Shakira - 'Pay To Play'

posted 28 Jan 2014, 15:17 by Paul Woodward
(MelodicRock Records)

Review By Woody

Pay To Play is the latest album from established cult Scandinavian melodic rockers House Of Shakira and the second to feature popular vocalist Andreas Novak. These guys have always been surrounded by much critical acclaim over the years and have developed a strong and loyal fan base. Since Novak joined the band I think this helped the band step up a level and saw a massive increase in the quality of the band’s output in my opinion.

I’ve always followed the career of House of Shakira but I’ve never been a fan boy because their albums tend to be inconsistent and for every killer track theirs three that don’t get my juices flowing. Pay To Play again falls into my feeling of inconsistency and whilst there is some excellent musicianship shown here and a couple of quality tracks, the album falls smack dab in the middle of pretty average territory. I’ve always struggled to connect with the band in the past and again I fail to get enveloped in their music which makes it hard for me to truly enjoy the songs. Looking at Pay To Play from the outside I do truly think established fans will love this album, it has a crisp production and Novak’s vocals are awesome.

House Of Shakira has a very unique sound which has help expand their fan base by avoiding formulaic songs and styles. They are very much a melodic rock band but they are a melting pot of various styles and in many songs mash it all up in just one song. Their influences are all over the songs from Sleaze to AOR, Glam to Pop, Melodic Hard Rock to old school metal and this mash up of sounds does give them a unique and fresh style in comparison to the more traditional AOR acts out there at the moment.

With Pay To Play it’s easy to hear what they are aiming for, anthemic choruses and fist pumping energy, but for me the killer blow to hook you into each song never really comes. To be honest none of the choruses here leave a lasting impression and if you’re creating a song in this style the memorable chorus has to be paramount. There is plenty of good stuff here a great guitar riff here and an instant vocal melody there, but never all in one song to give it that killer edge.

Not the greatest album to approach if you’re not an established fan as it never really screams at you to demand repeat listens and may fail to make an impression on new listeners. That said I’m confident House Of Shakira’s established circle of fans will find plenty to enjoy here amongst the lavish harmony drenched rockers!

Track Listing: Pay To Play / Bending The Law / All You Want / When The Cat’s Away / Dopamine Junkie / Draw The Line / Dog Eat Dog / Give Me More / Tried and True / Talk Of The Town / Two Things / Same Old Story

Album Rating: 5/10

Woody’s Essential Track: Bending The Law