HOUSE OF LORDS – Big Money [Japan Edition] (2011)

HOUSE OF LORDS - Big Money (2011)

Of all the 2011 releases, the new House Of Lords “Big Money” was high on my list of the most anticipated. I have been a huge fan since the 1989 self-titled debut and have weathered the storm of lineup changes, some musical direction shifts and poor label support/direction.

James Christian has kept the House Of Lords ship afloat, being the stabilizing force behind the band since it was taken out of the mothballs in 2000 (after a roughly 7 year layoff) and has been its leader ever since.

My constant fear when listening to any new album from a band that has a long established history of creating top notch releases is that they try and change their style or create something more ‘modern’ sounding to try and reach a new audience.

When that happens the band typically doesn’t reach anyone new and in the process and alienates the core listener who doesn’t connect with the bands intent to change direction.

“Big Money” does none of that. Thankfully James Christian and the rest of House Of Lords give you more of what you love about the band in the past: big vocals, great hooks, quality production and some of the best songwriting of their career.

Starting right out of the gates with the title track “Big Money”, you get the sense that Christian and the boys wanted a giant size opening number with a razor sharp guitar solo and an energetic chorus. Is that Robin Beck doing the intro with the line ‘the root of all Evil’ ?

Follower “One Man Down” has a more serious tone and feel to it but still has those trademark Christian harmonies. I also enjoyed the slow haunting intro on this one, something of a trademark by House Of Lords over the years.

Up next is “First To Cry” and what I believe is the albums best track. Playful lyrics on this one and again more power vocals from James. You can really feel an element of the ‘You’re not going to break me, I’m going to break you’ angle that I think this song was trying to get across. It works.

‘Someday When” has some really stellar keyboards and sounds like something the band could have recorded on the first or second album, I say that with every degree of sincerity. With some slick guitar work from Jimi Bell, this one will get your pulse raising.

Next is “Searchin”, a high octane rock and a potential single / video for sure. It has a very commercial appeal that may even sound better unplugged, if House Of Lords were ever inclined to record an album or show in that environment.

“Living In A Dream World” is the most ambitious track on “Big Money” by far. Lots of different tempo changes on this one with some very good leads from Bell. Massive harmonies fills this track, biggest on the record.

“The Next Time I Hold You” is a sweet ballad that showcases House Of Lords not afraid to be sensitive but still able to rock out with a dazzling lead from Bell and more tasteful keyboard work. Hands will be waiving in the crowd when this gets performed live.

“Run For Your Life” keeps the album moving without a ton of flair but just more quality arena rock and some of the best drumming on the record from BJ Zampa, especially at the tail end of this track.

“Hologram” is one of the few moments on Big Money that left me scratching my head. It has a vocal effect used by Christian that I don’t particularly care for. Not certain what the bull horn sound brought to the chorus on this one but it did lose me.. if only for a moment.

“Seven” is one of the great celebrations of the ’80s recorded in the past 10 years or so. What a blast to the past with catchy vocals and an awesome chorus. Clever cheesy lyrics but I think it was meant to be that way (sort of tongue in cheek approach) and it truly worked. It really lifts the disc back for me.

“Once Twice” tells the story of a guy getting burned by the same chick multiple times over, up tempo and more crunchy guitar work from Bell.

“Blood” ends the album on a high note and a heavy one as well. Some of the loudest guitars I have ever heard on any House Of Lords record “Blood” is the bands best shot at a true metal sound but still has the Christian harmonies intact.

“Big Money” is exactly what the fans want from a House Of Lords record.

This is a more commercial album than the previous, with chunky melodies and hooks like it was meant to be played, plenty of groove and catchiness.

As usual Christian does a solid job on vocals and Bell shines on the guitar with some tasty chopping licks that flashed all over the place.

Well recorded, mixed and produced, “Big Money” is full of melodic up tempo rockers, terrific musicianship and soaring vocals.

Highly Recommended.



01 – Big Money

02 – One Man Down

03 – First To Cry

04 – Someday When

05 – Searchin’

06 – Living In A Dream World

07 – The Next Time I Hold You

08 – Run For Your Life

09 – Hologram

10 – Seven

11 – Once Twice

12 – Blood

13 – The Next Time I Hold You [Piano Remix] (Bonus Track)


James Christian – Vocals
Jimi Bell – Guitars
Chris McCarvill – Bass
BJ Zampa – Drums
Jeff Kent – Keyboards, Bass, Backing Vocals



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