Perfect World - 2003 Perfect World

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ARTIST: Perfect World
ALBUM: Perfect World
LABEL: Frontiers
SERIAL: FRCD 165
YEAR: 2003

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: image image
LINEUP: Kelly Hansen - vocals * Alex De Rosso - guitars * Fabrizio V. Zee Grossi - bass, additional guitars, keyboards, samples, programming * JM Scattolin - acoustic and electric guitars * Biggs Brice - live and Roland drums * Adam Forgione - piano and additional keyboards

TRACK LISTING: Here With Me * 02 Leaving Lonely * 03 Just Like A Pill * 04 I Believe In You * 05 Between You And Me * 06 Out Of Bounds * 07 You'll Be Gone * 08 Someday Soon * 09 Do You Love * 10 I Need You * 11 Overnight Sensation * 12 Broken

Background

The team which bought you Vertigo all of five minutes ago, are obviously very busy people. Just as that album showcased the superb talents of Joseph Williams, this release by Perfect World showcases the range of the often under-rated Kelly Hansen.

Okay, so if I'm being honest, I was never much of a Hurricane fan, and while I enjoyed his performances on Unruly Child's 'Waiting For The Sun', Unruly Child without Mark Free is only Unruly Child in name.

Now I've got that off my chest, Perfect World is great. It's pretty much everything I'd want from a melodic rock album which doesn't feature any members of Toto or have the word Survivor emblazoned across the front.

Firstly, and quite importantly, you should know this album is made up of cover tunes. However, it's not your run-of-the-mill collection of classic rock covers which have been wheeled out time and again by everyone. Oh no, sir, this is different.

The Songs

The album begins with Kelly wailing his way through 'Here With Me', a song originally featured on 'Positively Somewhere' by Jennifer Paige (there, you didn't expect that, did you?). This version is exactly the same in terms of overall arrangement, except the guitars have been cranked up slightly. Kelly motors his way through the song as if it had been originally intended for him and is in mighty fine voice.

The official press release seems to make a big deal out of the inclusion of a cover of Pink's mega-selling hit 'Just Like A Pill', claiming it's a hard rock version. To my ears, it doesn't sound much chunkier than her rendition, but still, it handles itself well.

Personally, I'm far more drawn in by Hansen's treatment of 'I Believe In You', a great song which had originally found a home on Amanda Marshall's second album 'Tuesday's Child'. The version recorded by Marshall is superb (as is her version of Marc Jordan's 'Fall From Grace'), so I never expected Kelly Hansen to come anywhere near close to the greatness of the big-haired and big-voiced Canadian. He tries his damnedest, and while it's excellent if taken in it's own right, for me Amanda's version will always have the edge.

Also included are versions of 'Someday Soon' and 'Broken' which were both originally from the self-titled album by Angela Ammons (see the Vertigo review also). These offerings are both a little more understated in places and are in the power-ballad vein, and with 'Broken' especially, it's quite easy to imagine vocals by Jeff Scott Soto (hey, maybe someone should send him the song?). For the bigger element, the guitars are turned up, but not so much to spoil the overall power of the songs.

Every time I've played the album so far, I've really enjoyed 'Overnight Sensation'. I've no idea who recorded it originally. I was initially disappointed it wasn't a cover of the old Eric Carmen/Raspberries tune (see also Cherie & Marie Currie's 'Messin' With The Boys' album), but once I'd gotten over my brief disappointment, I realised this 'other' 'Overnight Sensation' rocked just as much, especially with those AOR-friendly backing vocals and chunky guitar playing by Alex De Rosso.

In Summary

Of the rest of the lesser-known material, it's all top-notch with no fillers (makes a change). There's so much to enjoy here, you'd be stooped not to get yourselves a copy. It'll be spending a fair bit of time in my CD player in the near future.


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