Alan Kelly's Seven Hard Years - No Place in Heaven (Lynchburg Records)

Solid Hard Rock from a couple of Shy alumni...
Release Date: 
30 Jun 2014 (All day)

AOR and hard rock fans might remember the name Alan Kelly; He played drums for Brit hard rock not-quite-weres Shy all through the eighties and nineties, propelling the band to the top of AOR’s second division via the gift of some at times EXHILARATING toonz; Like a lot of Brit bands from that era, however, they never quite caught the breaks they needed despite some big name collaborations, and band leader Steve Harris died sadly in 2011, a man destined to never fulfil his massive hard rock potential.

So now Kelly brings us Seven Hard Years (geddit?!!), a pleasing collection of serviceable, if dated, AOR that’ll push several of the right buttons if you like this kinda schtick. And fans of Shy will be pleased to know that Lynchburg Records, who are putting this out, is owned by former Shy bassist Roy Davis, who also adds some of his four string SKILLZ to this release!

Basically, …Heaven is slick, late eighties AOR, high on harmonies but a bit low overall on guitar crunch. In places it’s a bit reminiscent of fellow Brit rockers Strangeways, mainly thanks to the smooth n’gritty vocalisin' (smooth n’gritty? I’ve made him sound like peanut butter!) of Line of Fire throat Shawn Pelata, whose Yank phrasin’ and croonin’ style gives this release the authenticity the songs need. His UNDERSTATED delivery has a strange kind of appeal to it, and his excellent performance on the tracks Say What You Gotta Say and Say Those Lies are two of the highlights of the album.

In fact Say Those Lies is probably the best track on the album, if only because it packs a real punch, being much HEAVIER than what’s going on around it. I couldn’t say for sure – I got a digital download link without much information as to who does what – but I’d be willing to make a guess that that extra heft is provided by former Marshall Law axe god Dave Martin, who pulls out a blindin’ solo on this track… if it is him!

So there ya go… Nice work, though hardly essential if ya must know the TRUTH. But if you’re a Shy completest or just a fan of quality AOR, you’ll enjoy what’s on offer here, I promise.