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Sacred Heart


"Shake" review by Dave Hunter


There are not many albums recently, which have had me chomping at the bit, eagerly waiting for it to be released but due to having heard the samples from this album some weeks ago on myspace, this is one of them. Though not strictly their debut album with demo CDs A New Dawn (2003) and Lay It On The Line (2004) already having already been available through mail-order, this is their first with proper production and what an absolute belter it is!

Does your memory stretch back to the heady 80's days when rock music was about boys being boys and having fun? One look at the scantily clad young lady on the cover and you know instantly those happy days are here again! As Paul Stead explains 'the "Shake" artwork really does get the message across of what many of the tracks theme is. And I can assure you, they are based on many real experiences' Indeed there is a nod to the past both lyrically and musically yet with enough current influences to make this a must have for rockers of at least two generations!

Afraid opens the proceedings with the invitation 'wanna play with me?' from a husky young lady. A catchy, slow, heavy number, two things immediately strike you, the excellent guitar solo from Mark Stephenson and Paul Stead's unique vocal delivery. A crisp, clean delivery, something close to Joey Tempest, more refined, yet perfectly suited and a definite asset. Adding weight to their claim that this album really does have something for everyone, next up is the hook laden, upbeat Paradise followed by the simmering Tonight. On both tracks guitars feature heavily, though not overwhelming the outstanding vocal melodies. We're now into the meat of the album with title track Shake, painting a fantastic picture of a wonderful sleazy encounter. Lost is the song which screams out for airplay, sure to be a great live favourite. Describing Maybe as a big ballad probably wouldn't do it justice, this builds from acoustic beginnings into an absolute cracker, and it's hard to remember one that has impressed me this much.

Great bass lines from Darren Jhuboo litter the pop/rock of Natali, a song about love lost. Another, which is sure to be fantastic live, is Carry On a clever blend of old and newer styles, punchy and melodic in equal measure. Perfect has some wonderfully ironic lyrics, a guitar solo reminiscent of Brian May, whilst the piano outro comforts like a familiar old friend. A change of pace next with the slower, yet very catchy Lift You Up very passionate, you can almost hear the regret dripping from the words. Perhaps the heaviest track on here, 1000 Tears is saved for last but long before now the air guitar is firmly in hands head shaking, mind made up that this is indeed an essential purchase for every fan of Great British hard rock!

Through their own self-belief and sheer determination Sacred Heart have managed to get this album out. It's easy to understand why they persevered, when you hear the quality of the tracks and I am sure it won't be long before the labels come sniffing. Let's get ready to 'Shake'.

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