About Time Too - Reviews
I’m sure there were several possibilities when it came to the album title, but somehow this one seems rather fitting! Four years after the release of ‘S.O.S.‘ comes ‘About Time Too‘, the new album from British AOR band Moritz.
Well they say patience is a virtue, but having already heard some of the new material both as sound files and also live when the band patiently played both Fibrofest’s for yours truly, I was hankering to hear the whole kit and kaboodle!
Next came the problem of writing an unbiased and subjective review of the album…..but hey, not being someone to balk at a challenge here goes.
If your a fan of the band and familiar with their previous releases then ‘About Time Too‘ is not really going to spring any surprises for you. For those of you unfamiliar, what you get is an album that follows in the rich tradition of British AOR. Great song writing, great melodies, and an overall superior musicianship, all the components that fans of the genre look for.
Some of the tracks feel almost like old friends as I’ve played them quite a few times over the last year. ‘Moon And Back‘ & ‘Chance Of A Lifetime‘ are to me classic Moritz tracks.
From the keyboard soaked intro of ‘Love Long Gone‘, the R&B meets rock ‘You Don’t Know What Love Is‘ and the near seven minute closing track ‘There’s Something About / Unwanted Man‘, this is everything you want in an AOR release. So the question that this raises, if you like AOR and haven’t ordered it, why the hell not?
A platter of pure AOR with a slightly ballsier edge than its predecessor.
I hadn't realised how long it had been since British AOR-ster's Moritz's last album 'S.O.S', so I'm sure fans of pure AOR will be awaiting their new album 'About Time Too' with bated breath. I know these guys are really popular, especially in the underground scene, but I've always felt they lacked that killer punch to be a truly awesome band. I like them and enjoy their sound and style, but they always seem one step behind – this release hasn't changed that opinion. Moritz and '...Too' can be somewhat hit and miss, and whilst one song can have me singing along like a mad man, the next can leave me underwhelmed and anxiously waiting for the track to kick in or grab my attention.
Once again, Moritz deliver a platter of pure AOR with a slightly ballsier edge than its predecessor, yet still with that unmistakable British AOR vibe very much at the forefront of their song-writing. I think fans of old-school FM will adore this, I personally feel that's a big part of the reason these guys are popular as these songs evoke memories not only of that band but also that era of British AOR. I hear touches of Outside Edge too, which I know is an obscure reference but I'm sure big fans of Moritz will know this band extremely well.
Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music There's lots to enjoy and embrace on this album for AOR fans, sing-along choruses, lush melodies, prominent keyboards and driving guitar riffs. I'm a big fan of vocalist Peter Scallan's voice and style which is absolutely perfect for AOR; it's smooth and soaring but with some balls when a song needs that extra vocal impact.
When they fire on all cylinders, Moritz pump out some amazing tunes like the feel good 'Moon And Back' which has an upbeat summertime feel to it. It's an extremely catchy, pure AOR song with a big sing-along chorus. 'Love Long Gone' was the track that hit me first with its infectious keyboards and it's a perfect Melodic Rocker with its killer chorus and gripping guitars. I would suggest that the melancholic, Blues-infused ballad 'You Don't Know What Love Is' is best enjoyed with a bottle of very cheap whiskey!
'About Time Too' has some truly great moments and is well worth the time of any self-respecting pure AOR fan. I'm sure many will hold this album aloft with pride and joy!
It’s interesting that the very next album I get for review after Cats in Space’s excellent ‘Scarecrow’ which features both Greg Hart and Andy Stewart from the original line up of Moritz is from that very band. Moritz of course though is very different from Cats in Space – where the latter take the 70’s head on with a Queen-like twist Moritz is very much classy 80’s AOR.
Burning brightly back in the mid eighties sadly at the time Moritz never got that record deal, and indeed until 2010’s reformation all we had was one classic EP. This is their third reformation album since 2010 and the first without Greg Hart.
The album itself is pure classy AOR, nice and laid back, catchy and crisp. Opener ‘One More Beautiful Day’ lays some solid foundations that are built upon and quite frankly exceeded by the blue sky sounds of ‘Moon and Back’; the Survivor-like flurry of ‘Chance of a Lifetime’ and the wonderfully constructed build and power of ‘Dreamland’ my favourite here. Put those four together and you have a more than solid opening salvo that just leaves you wanting more.
Sadly the middle of the album just isn’t quite as enticing. It’s not exactly a middle order collapse but after those opening tunes it isn’t until the last couple of songs that Moritz recapture that magic, but when they do it’s spectacular – ‘You Don’t Know What Love Is’ is simply sublime a wonderful blues-tinged slow burner that you absolutely have to hear – it’s like Joe Cocker meets Thunder. It’s wonderful though sadly it’s also the second last track here. Things close out as stylishly as they began though with ‘There’s Something About/Unwanted Man’ a key-laden AOR gem.
This is an excellent album with some mighty moments – at it’s best it’s as good as anything you’ll hear al year and if it wasn’t for that slight dip in the middle it might even be right up there with the very best AOR of the millennium.
Well I thought if I was going to do a last review, it might as well be a good one! Moritz are back in the game, it’s been four years since SOS was released and a mighty 30 years since their first. In terms of Prog bands, Moritz are still pretty damn prolific by comparison!
There been some changes since the last album. Greg Hart has departed to form his ‘Kittens In Orbit’ band, or ‘Moggies on Mars’, or whatever it is. Hart was one of the main songwriters in Moritz, and you would think that his trip into space would affect the Moritz output. Well, you’re completely wrong, because ‘About Time Too’ sees Moritz ditch some of the pomp and go more rock than roll and added a bit of soul and blues without losing any of the melody that the AOR crowd love them for.
I was fortunate to be given the demoes to listen to a few months back, and they were a stellar set of songs before they were tweaked and polished. I can’t believe it was 10 months ago.
The band still consists of its core members Peter Scallan (Vox), Mike Nolan (guitars) and Ian Edwards (Bass/Keys). In comes long time cohort Kenny Evans (guitars) and John Tonks (drums). I add that for the ‘up and coming gigs’, Moritz will be joined by Chris Teeder (keys) and Russ Wilson (drums). Cool. Everyone’s got a mention.
The demoes didn’t need much polishing, but they have pulled out all the stops and raided both Auto Glym and Mr Sheene and its been polished to within an inch of its life (in an utterly good way). The change is fantastic.
Scallan has had his shackles unleashed and is like a different singer. No longer trying to be pushed into being a Scottish Freddie Mercury, the guy now has a more bluesy raspiness to his tone. And the result on the opener ‘One More Beautiful Day’ is brilliant. Couple this with the sumptuous harmonies and the wonderous composition, and starts to albums don’t get much better than this.
‘Moon And Back’ is like ear candy of the highest order. The chorus just infecting your lug’oles and embedding itself after just one listen. It's like something that the lapsed Rock God Michael Bolton would have done in his brief dalliance with AOR. ‘Chance of a Lifetime’ has a great 80s lyric, ‘walking on a thin line, between love and hate’. It’s a huge 80s influenced song. In fact, if it were 1986 we would all be shitting ourselves with excitement! I’m an old fart brought up on music like this, and I did let out a little excited trump if I’m honest, as it brings back a lot of great memories from so many great bands (and times). The melodic rock community will love this. 'Dreamland’ is probably the only song on the album that keeps it all reined in. It shows a different side to Moritz and never attempts to go for the huge riff. ‘Take it On The Chin’ kicks off with Flight Lieutenant Mike Nolan (he of the flying V display troupe) who steps up and produces a face melting riff, combined with Ian’s Hammond sound which also sees Peter Scallan catching his balls on razor wire and hitting a note that only dogs and teenagers can hear. Scallan sings, ‘Some you lose, some you win, you gotta take it on the chin.’ Well based on this selection, Moritz will undoubtedly be winners.
‘Run’ shows that its not all about pure pink fluffiness. The Moritz boys like to rock out occasionally and this is a prime example. A co-write with Ivan Gunn, it gets full marks as a soft/LOUD rocker; the best ones mix the tempo, and this one does it with flair, and has a cracking guitar solo. It will sound massive live. ‘Love Long Gone’ is the kind of song that bands tried to coax out of the ‘masters’ such as Diane Warren or Desmond Child back in the day, and it wants to make you dig out your bleached denims and leg-warmers, and buy a DeLorean and head back to the 80s. ‘Own Little World’ is ‘Styx-esque’ with layers upon layers of vocal harmonies. It is a ‘Part II’ companion piece of ‘Caught Between Life & The Light’ from SOS and is an absolute delight.
Next up is my outright favourite on ‘ATT’. The demo stood out like a baboon’s arse, and it does today even though I had to go looking for it as the title has changed to ‘You Don’t Know What Love Is’. It's Like Procul Harum, Percy Sledge, and Lorraine Ellison got down and dirty, and 9 months later it spawned ‘YDKWLI’ (it just rolls off the tongue)! The guitar solo from Mike Nolan is up there with some of the best. Moritz hit the final furlong full in their stride with ‘There’s Something About/Unwanted Man’. Its got a moving synth intro (think Tarot Woman), before unleashing the beast. Fuck. Me. ‘Unwanted Man’ is huge. The opening riff is to die for, then it steps back to build its tempo to a crescendo and ‘that chorus’. Evans and Nolan trade licks like Robbo and Gorham back in the day. Wow! It's one of the best finishes to an album I’ve heard in quite some time.
Kids, there’s a bloody good reason why Moritz are so damn good. They have influences from a time when there were lots of great melodic rock bands around. They take snippets from the best and turn them into their own style. When other labels are turning out ‘average’ as being acceptable, it's great to see some local boys leading the charge and showing the rest how it should be done.
I’ve loved ‘Undivided’, and ‘SOS’, but ‘About Time Too’ takes it all to a whole different level.
For the AOR/Melodic Rock mafia, the name of MORITZ is a no stranger at all. This Brit melodic act that was founded in London back in 1986 became immediately synonymous with quality melodic rock music.
For many fans of this particular sound Moritz's debut record, "City Streets", is still a gem of an album, a real classic! But unfortunately, the band took separate ways and did not continue to release other albums.
But many years later, in 2010, Moritz came back with the brand new "Undivided" and put a smile upon the face of their fans who demanded new songs. A more edgier record. less 80's keyboard-driven, that received positive feedback from both fans and press.
A new opus saw the light of day in 2013 with the title "SOS". Aa overall good release that included a bunch of some killer tunes in it like "Invincible", "Gonna Lose Her" and "Can't Hide My Heart".
Nowadays, the band is back, stronger than ever to prove that MORITZ has a lot more to offer to this scene. Their brand new opus is entitled "About Time Too" and it's about a 13-track record that will please every single fan of the melodic rock/AOR sound in general. Highlights here are the up-tempo "Moon And Back", "Dreamland", the emotional "Forever Is", the edgy "Take It On The Chin" and "Love Long Gone".
Classic melodic rock stuff with beautiful melodies, solid arrangements, passionate vocals, catchy choruses and, of course, a strong mid 80's vibe in it that will make every melodic music lover very happy!!
Rating : 8/10