OUT OF THIS WORLD – “Out of This World”
By Colonel Angus
The name of the band and this first self-titled disk should be familiar with anyone who knows the band EUROPE. Even though the line-up has a number of seasoned players, Kee Marcello is probably the most recognizable to us folks here in the states. If you remember, he is the guitarist who replaced John Norum and made his mark on the platinum selling “Out of This World” (see the connection). After another largely overlooked album “Prisoners in Paradise”, Marcello embarked on a solo career that has now led to this collection of melodic musicians. Joining Marcello is vocalist Tommy Heart from FAIR WARNING fame. He was also part of Marcello’s previous project KEE OF HEARTS. Completing the band are bassist Ken Sandin and drummer Darby Todd who toured with THE DARKNESS. Safe to say, all of these players know their way around their respective instruments so it really comes down to the songs. Being a great player doesn’t mean much unless you can convert that talent into something catchy and listenable. Luckily, OUT OF THIS WORLD manages to capture all the fun of the heady days of melodic rock without bringing in too much of the hair metal/glam metal baggage that almost killed that genre back in the late 80s.
Things start off just like you would expect with some great melodic rock with the one-two punch of “Twilight” and “Hangin’ On”. Both tracks possess the perfect formula of catchy rhythms along with melodic choruses. The latter includes some great keyboards that remind me of “Toto IV” (which by the way is a compliment). Unfortunately, the momentum is slowed down next with one of the two ballads on the album. “In a Million Years” and second to last track “Only You Can Teach Me How to Love Again” are good tracks for what they are but I prefer the more up-tempo material on the disk. Speaking of up-tempo, “The Warrior” is kind of the outlier on this record. It is quite the rocker and I wish the disk had more songs like this one. It has some great guitar work and a lot of VAN HALEN elements to the point where I had to double check and make sure I was listening to the correct record. The other tracks on the disk are more in line with the opening cuts which bring together all those signature sounds of quality melodic rock. “Up to You” and “Ain’t Gonna Let You Go” will have you humming the choruses for days and those melodies will have you hitting the repeat button over and over again.
While “Out of This World” is not a perfect record, there is a lot to recommend here. I readily admit to having a soft spot for good melodic rock (even though I’m a metalhead at heart) and OUT OF THIS WORLD is better than just good. Marcello provides enough guitar fireworks to give this a slightly harder edge at times and collaborator Heart provides the right amount of soaring vocals. There are a few missteps like putting a ballad as the third track which slows down the momentum started by the previous tracks but all in all, these are minor complaints. Melodic rock fans rejoice because “Out of This World” is a great start to 2022.