Keen Hue is one of those obscure band-gems from the ’80s that made some material and then, became compositionally inactive. They actually adopted the moniker Keen Hue-Undercover and exclusively played covers of classic rock songs until posting back in September a surprise-statement on Facebook that they’re back on the studio with the original line-up to re-record some of their older songs and a few new never released before, titles.
The type of music Keen Hue plays is a mixture of melodic hard rock in the style of UFO, Scorpions and Rainbow, and heavy metal similar to Iron Maiden. Since I mentioned Scorpions, Lars Ake’s tone sounds very similar to Klaus Meine and is as good and powerful as it was in the 1985 debut “Ogre King.” The guitars have a nice distortion effect, not too muddy, with every riff being distinguishable to the human ear. Finally, the drums are produced well, with a clean, modern snare sound while the bass guitar bears a distracting thick twang in the final mix.
Some of Heydays‘ more mesmerizing moments could be found in the entirety of the major scale-themed and optimistic opener “Fly Away Honey” and the anthemic chorus of “We Don’t Need War.” Additionally, the band’s signature, heavier, early days elements could be defined by the Americanized, fast heavy rocker “The Doctor’s Crying” and the more metallic “Ogre King.” However, the writing formula of most of the new tracks has been done thousands of times in the past and therefore leaves a sense of mediocrity to the listener.
In conclusion, Heydays is a gracious effort from these veteran musicians, but it would be arguably much more preferable if they had revisited some extra, less mainstream-oriented tracks or perhaps engaged in fresh compositional activity. While Heydays does have its filler moments, it, without a doubt, could be named an essential piece for old fans’ collection and certainly a good introduction to newcomers of this genre.
“The Doctor’s Crying”
“Fly Away Honey”
Heydays is available on CD from AOR heaven here
The full album is also available for streaming on Spotify.
Date of Release: November 29th, 2019