THE REAL GONE SINGLES BAR #51

Welcome back to the Real Gone Singles Bar, the place where we explore some of the individual mp3s that have landed in our inbox over the previous few weeks. This time around, the SB includes a few familiar faces: Roisin McCarney returns with some great pop; Scotland’s The Lines share one of their finest tracks to date, and alt-rockers Then Comes Silence deliver one of their most incessant hooks. There are unfamiliar acts here too, as well as the Bar’s usual variety, as we explore some retro pop, a tune from a brand new singer songwriter, and a couple of other treats. As always, we hope you find something interesting within…

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PRAYING MANTIS – Defiance

With a run of enjoyable albums that began with 2015’s ‘Legacy’, Praying Mantis seemed to go from strength to strength over the following decade. Granted, a few of the tracks on that album and its successors (2018’s ‘Gravity’ and 2022’s ‘Katharsis’) were a little heavier sounding, but Chris and Tino Troy’s gifts for a strong melody continued to set the band apart from so many of the second tier acts associated with the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, and when dropping into numbers boasting more of an AOR/melodic rock hook, the band sounded as good as ever.

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THE REAL GONE SINGLES BAR #44

Welcome back to the Real Gone Singles Bar, the place where we explore some of the individual mp3s that have landed in our inbox over the previous few weeks. This time around, we bring you some hazy sounding neo-psychedelia, an interesting take on a post punk/goth sound, a great singer songwriter, a melodic rock banger, a slice of Latin jazz, and more besides. As always, we hope you find something new to enjoy!

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CRUZH – The Jungle Revolution

Few bands have managed to take such a giant leap in terms of quality between their first and second records as Swedish rockers Cruzh. Their 2016 album showed promise in terms of its (admittedly unfashionable) AOR-centric songs, but on that record, they sounded like an entire product of the studio. The guitars were smooth and the vocals subjected to so much post-production, they barely sounded human. In short, the material had no real bite. Their second record ‘Tropical Thunder’ – issued by Frontiers Records five years later – was a great improvement. The songs, still indebted to the Danger Danger debut and equally 80s-tastic material by Alien, came with a big heart, but more importantly, seemed to breathe far more naturally. Despite still being overproduced, the 2021 Cruzh had seemingly learnt the value of a more rock derived vocal, and some of the material shared great guitar work, suggesting that this band actually had the potential to become a decent melodic rock act. Granted, they’d still have to go a fair way to beat fellow Swedes Lionville and Streetlight in terms of sheer quality, but ‘Tropical Thunder’ was certainly a huge step in the right direction…

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HONEYMOON SUITE – Alive

The first three Honeymoon Suite albums are an essential part of any decent melodic rock/AOR album collection. Songs like ‘New Girl Now’, ‘Feel It Again’, ‘Bad Attitude’ and ‘Lookin’ Out For Number One’ should have made them as big as Journey and Survivor, but outside of the US and Canada, the band never achieved any more than cult status. Any relative lack of success elsewhere wasn’t for the want of trying, however. Millions of people have actually heard Honeymoon Suite without realising it, since their ‘Lethal Weapon’ graced the end credits of the film of the same name in 1987. Unfortunately, the end credits failed to mention this…robbing the band of some very easy publicity.

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