Album Review — Robin McAuley
Robin McAuley — Alive
Another early year present was released last week in Robin McAuley’s second studio album, “Alive”. McAuley has been active in the last few years with the two studio albums and the two Black Swan albums after many years of not releasing a lot of material.
As we heard on his previous releases over the last few years, McAuley’s voice is as good as ever and he seems rejuvenated to create new music. “Alive” is overall a little heavier than 2021’s “Standing On The Edge”. It’s time for a track by track review.
Alive — The album starts with a short piano intro but then the riffy guitars kick in and we are off. The construction of this track is a little different as there isn’t a lot to the first verse but the chorus is very catchy. The second verse is more traditional. It’s a great track to showcase McAuley’s vocals. A strong start.
Dead As A Bone — This one has an almost Dokken-type of guitar intro which I really like. This one sounds like it could have been on one of the Black Swan records. Even the guitar solo sounds very George Lynch to me. I feel like it’s the 80s again with this great track.
Bless Me Father — The two Black Swan albums had some serious lyrical content and this is another track that would fall in that category. A strong verse kicks up even another notch in the chorus. McAuley really shines and I really like the guitar playing on this record. Awesome track.
Feel Like Hell — This one has a little more of a modern feel to it from the start which works. I really like the heavier feel of this record. There’s plenty of melody but the heavier guitar sound is great. Another huge chorus greets us on another great track.
Can’t Go On — The “power ballad” of the record is up next. McAuley has always been a master at delivering on these types of tracks and he does it again here. I’m not sure there is anything overly unique about this one. It’s just a solid power ballad with a great vocal delivery.
The Endless Mile — Another track that has a pretty strong Dokken guitar feel to it from the start. Another very strong heavier rocker to keep the energy going after the ballad.
Fading Away — A more bluesy guitar to start this one. I’m not sure if this was intentional but this record is certainly heavier than “Standing on the Edge”. And the choruses really stand out as well. And more kudos to Andrea Seveso who is credited with the guitar on the record. Very impressive.
My Only Son — This album is really solid but this track really stands out. It’s got all the elements and it just works. Another track with more serious lyrical content that seems to bring out the best in McAuley. A passionate vocal on this great track.
When The Time Has Come — This album keeps on giving. Another solid track with all those same elements. McAuley’s delivery is so good. There are those little details that just grab your attention in his delivery.
Stronger Than Before — I keep waiting for another ballad but we just get the one and I’m totally good with that. A heavier riff and verse gives way to another really catchy chorus. Another great solo from Seveso makes this a standout track.
Who I Am — Another very Dokken-y riff to finish things off. If you are going to sound like someone else as a guitar player, you could do much worse than George Lynch. Might as well finish like they started with another big chorus and really strong riff.
In many ways, this record sounds like an 80s Dokken record with McAuley on vocals. And Robin sounds as good, if not better, than he did back then. This record is full a great riffs and big choruses and who doesn’t like that?
I liked “Standing On The Edge” but this album surpasses that one. It’s heavier and I think the songs are better. It much closer to the Black Swan records which are among my favorite records of the last few years.
This is a great rock record. Any Robin McAuley fan will already be all over this but any fan of 80s hard rock will really like this record. It’s on par with the Black Swan records and an early contender to make my year end Top 10 list.
95 out of 100
2. Dead As A Bone*
3. Bless Me Father*
4. Feel Like Hell*
5. Can’t Go On
6. The Endless Mile
7. Fading Away
8. My Only Son*
9. When The Time Has Come
10. Stronger Than Before*
11. Who I Am