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ISSA Sign Of Angels Frontiers Records (2010)


Norwegian singer Issa tries her hand at the melodic rock genre with a debut album that those 'in the know' (whoever they may be) describe as a 'bomb'. I'm taking that to be an endorsement as opposed to a pronouncement of how the album might be received.

From the cover, the 26 year old from Oslo looks the real deal - a leggy blonde showing plenty of thigh and sporting the obligatory leather bodice. And in many ways, the album doesn't disappoint either - backed by a guitar, keyboards, bass and drums line up, Sign Of Angels is packed with soaring hooks and riffs aplenty.

But there is a downside. From what I've heard Scandinavian melodic rock has a tendency to be somewhat formulaic. And Sign Of Angels is no exception with it's big vocals, massive Bon Jovi style choruses, and generally 'safe' approach. It's the sort of effort you could imagine someone like Cher or Celine Dion putting out if they turned their hand to the genre. In other words, a little too polished and predictable.

Note perfect from start to finish, pick any track and you won't be disappointed. And when she nails it, as on Flying High and How Will I Know, then it's the proverbial dog's bollocks. But play the album end to end, and one song begins to blur into the next with little to pick between them. Impeccably clinical, one can only hope that 'live' there's a bit more, as Slash would put it, 'rock & f---in' roll'.


Review by Pete Whalley


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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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