I’m still not 100% sure that this album is Moshville Times friendly, but I’m going to try and justify it. Issa’s Crossfire came in with a bundle of other light rock albums and it went on the playlist with everything else. And for some reason it caught my ageing ear.
Issa herself (Isabell Øversveen from Norway) has been in the music industry since a young age, working as a backing/demo singer amongst other things. After winning a competition, she got a bit of a push into the limelight herself. In 2010, aged 26, she released her debut album which went down very well and was branded “melodic rock”. Now, I’ll be very honest. I find Crossfire to be more poppy than rocky, but still with a rock edge. However, that doesn’t detract from my enjoyment of it.
It’s a guilty pleasure, I admit, and mainly as it reminds me of many quality female artists from my youth. Imagine if the likes of Kim Wilde, Cyndi Lauper, Debbie Gibson, et al teamed up with Heart or Vixen. Somewhere in that balance would be Issa. I think it’s the keyboards and the generally upbeat tone of each track that makes that connection to the 1980’s for me.
This is Issa’s fourth release and she’s backed by a motley crew of musicians. Assuming the line-up is the same as for previous albums, they are:
- Guitar – Peter Huss
- Bass – Nobby Norberg
- Keyboards – Tim Larsson
- Drums – Uli Kusch
Guest musicians feature heavily as well. To make sure I don’t miss any, I pinched this list from the press release:
Daniel Palmqvist (XorigiN), Alessandro Del Vecchio (Hardline), Steve Newman (Newman), Robert Sall (Work Of Art), Daniel Johansson (Degreed) and Stephen Chesney, plus a powerhouse choir including Pete Newdeck (In Faith/Tainted Nation), Matt Black (Fahran) and Michael Kew (Vega).
In addition, FM’s Steve Overland duets with Issa on the balladic track “Raintown”.
Now, I’ve checked out some other reviews and they focus a lot on the AOR creds of the album which I’m sure are exemplary. However, it’s not a genre I follow too closely so I’m just going by how much the album appealed to me personally and I was surprised. Pleasantly so.
On first listen I did think “Hmm… a bit too poppy. Would I admit to listening to this in public?” However, after leaving it playing for while as I got on with other stuff (my preferred method of letting an album wash over me) I decided that haters gonna hate and, frankly, I don’t care. I enjoyed the album. Crossfire is well written, well produced, well sung and well… fun.
The opening (title) track, for instance, erupts in a flurry of guitar and keyboard notes before building to a climactic chorus. Easy listening, but boppy and catchy.
The aforementioned “Raintown” appears as track three, and works extremely well. Listening to the song, it’s easy to picture the two singers on stage together throwing their lines back and forth with the harmonies working perfectly. Issa does her own ballad with “Fight Fire With Rain” a couple of tracks later.
“Heartbeat” is reminiscent of the likes of early Bon Jovi with it’s screamed opening and emotional chorus. Best guitar solo on the album goes to the one a little over two minutes through “Ghost Inside My Heart”.
“We Rise” and “Only You” round the album off well, leaving a pleasant feeling in your ears.
The songs are are generally quite light in tone, bouncy and fun. This is a cheerful album, one for parties and introducing your younger offspring to decent music!
Crossfire is out now, through Caroline International S&D