Great Britain seems to love throwing pleasant surprises at me. “New Horizon” is the third full-length album from the odd little band known as KICK, and I must say, it’s an album that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed multiple times before the writing of this review. Surprisingly, it’s gotten better with each play; a certain lyric sticks out a bit more, or a certain inflection of singer Nick Workman’s versatile voice hits me just the right way.
KICK describe themselves as “Melodic Rock,” but this is certainly not your father’s Melodic Rock. They do have a bit of a classic ‘80s sound to them, but they also sound very, very modern; the instruments evoke both the ‘90s garage sound as well as the Alternative Rock of today. Workman’s voice ties it all together, though, as his vocal style (a more Hard Rock version of DREAM THEATER’s James LaBrie) fits well into every song on “New Horizon,” despite how different they all are.
Speaking of Progressive music, KICK have more than a few Proggy moments of their own. Album opener “Electric Storm” isn’t exactly what you’d call traditional Melodic Rock, and the lyrics on all the songs are about a hundred times more thoughtful than the ‘80s Melodic acts that the band worships. Hell, even “Watch Me Fly,” the supposed “ballad,” has an undertone that just smacks of Prog. Maybe they don’t flirt with weird time signatures and key changes, but the album still feels very Prog; the ethereal atmosphere is very similar to that of a PINK FLOYD album.
On the flip side, there’s still stuff that’s very upbeat and fun, such as the pumping party rocker “High.” “Bone” is a very unique track that sounds vaguely like ‘90s EXTREME (their “Progressive” period). And of course, “Star” finishes off the album quietly, but gracefully.
There really is something for everyone on “New Horizon.” If you’re a fan of Progressive stuff, you’ll love it. If you’re a fan of Melodic stuff, you’ll still love it. The melodies are great, the instruments are sensible, and the production is excellent.
(Online September 10, 2008)