ICONIC EYE – Hidden In Plain Sight [Lee Small on lead vocals] (2015)
Founded by guitarist Greg Dean as a studio project to record his self penned songs, British melodic rock ICONIC EYE quickly transformed into something else. Having secured a slot at the prestigious Download festival in 2015 and received the ‘best new band of the year 2014’ award by Firebrand Magazine, the band’s first album “Hidden In Plain Sight” – featuring on lead vocals the great Lee Small (LIONHEART, SHY) – easily was one of the best Melodic Rock / AOR debuts that year.
“Hidden In Plain Sight” features 2 vocalists, at the beginning Lee Small (Shy) was bought in to do session vocals on five tracks, and later the remaining seven tracks were completed by now permanent band member, vocalist Tim Dawes.
Iconic Eye is British AOR / Melodic Rock with a hard edge, some moments of pomp but first and foremost melodic all over with lots of punch.
FM was the first comparison that came to mind for me, but much more edgy, while some of the more keyboard driven affairs made me think of ’80s Europe here and there. In the subtler details department I’d toss in some US melodic hard as well.
“Now That I’ve Found Love” opens the album in great style with sharp riffs and a true melodic hard rock vibe.
One of my favourite tracks on this album is “You Knew” where the strong riffs are so wonderful, with powerful drums and a catchy chorus. There’s a memorable melody ruling this little gem.
“Better Place” is another highlight with its fantastic changeable rhythmic section and melodic runs, an amazing chorus with progressive echoes and feel akin ’80s Scorpions.
We have Brit AOR on “Here I Stand” driven by a pumping bass line and velvety vocals, while “I Can Feel It” has nice keys in Europe style and impressive guitar work.
“Let It Rain Down” has a calmer opener with piano and then higher style in the refrain which has a melodic commercial delivering. A track ready for classic rock radio.
Busy bass, clean guitar and climatic keys are the motto in “Broken Dreams”. Here are also bluesy riffs obtaining a smokin’ atmosphere. “Every Little Thing” is a showcase for the musician’s skills: gorgeous rhythmic section, muscular guitar work, fabulous keys and stylized lead vocals. Love the guitar solo too.
One of the pleasant surprises this year, ICONIC EYE are connecting with style AOR and classy Melodic Hard Rock on their debut “Hidden In Plain Sight”, a solid first effort from a very professional band.
The songs themselves are all extremely well developed affairs, and a lot of thought have gone into the manner in which they develop. The overall performance is of an equally high quality, wrapped by a bright production.
This is a CD that would have sold by the truckloads of it had been launched in the second half of the ’80s. In today’s market that most likely won’t happen, sadly, but a fine band that deserves to have a success with this one.
01 – Now That I’ve Found Love (lead vocals Lee Small)
02 – You Make It (lead vocals Lee Small)
03 – All She Needed (lead vocals Lee Small)
04 – Don’t Stop Me from Leaving (lead vocals Lee Small)
05 – Let It Rain Down
06 – I Can Feel It
07 – Every Little Thing (lead vocals Lee Small)
08 – In a Broken Dream
09 – Better Place
10 – You Knew
11 – You’re On Your Own
12 – Here I Stand
Lee Small – Lead and Backing Vocals
Tim Dawkes – Lead Vocals
Greg Dean – Guitars, Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Gary Slater – Bass, Backing Vocals
Dave Wasson – Guitars, Backing Vocals
Paul Emery – Drums