FARCRY – Optimism (2011)
With the new FARCRY comeback album, it’s cool to revisit their previous album & review featured at 0dayrox back in 2011:
You don’t have to roam to the distant ends of the earth to find pure, undiluted melodic hard rock. Just look no further than FarCry, the band that dropped their critically-acclaimed debut back in 2009.
The band’s second album, “Optimism“, is finally here and they have really stepped it up, delivering some of the best sounding, heartfelt, straight-up melodic hard rock albums recently released.
“Satisfaction” is the perfect track to kick this album into gear. It’s an edgy rocker with a catchy melody combined with some slick guitar fills by Mr. Fry. The soft climb right before the solo has a very nice touch.
This leads into a very cool track called “Over and Over (Again!)”. This one is a bit more melodic enhanced by a strong chorus, some absolutely tremendous vocals by Giovi, another tasty guitar solo by Fry and some very nice underlying keyboard support by maestro Eric Ragno (Takara, From The Inside, First Signal).
“Nothing You Can Do” is a more straight hard rocker with the rhythm section punching out some welcome aggression while singer Mark Giovi matches their hammer-it-home intensity by lacing his voice with attitude.
Then “Better Than This” is the album’s only true ballad… absolutely perfect with Giovi’s vocals reminding me a bit of that of Jon Bon Jovi. This acoustic driven tear-jerker, nicely builds into a powerful chorus that could compete with the best of them and the nice piano accents by Ragno really give the whole thing that added little touch of class… very nicely done and lyrically just brilliant.
“Love At First Sight” is my favorite track of the entire CD. This is a catchy, foot-tapping head-bopper melodic masterpiece, Giovi simply shines on this one and the powerful, upbeat melody is perfectly flattered by a magnificently executed chorus and a tight groove that I could imagine back in the late ’80s would have been giving the likes of Bon Jovi or Danger Danger some serious competition on MTV. Just an incredible song that actually is a cover, originally recorded by a country artist by the name of Eric Michael Hopper.
It is followed by another butt-kicker in “Now That It’s Over”, which brings a darker edge to the proceedings with a brooding verse that builds to a nicely-done chorus that really showcases the band’s overt ‘80s influence.
“Free” is an amazing track with its anthem-like chorus, it again reminds me a little bit of a Bon Jovi mid-tempo rocker through Giovi’s delivery and accents. Even the lyrics themselves have a bit of that Bon Jovi-lyrical theme as well… very cool tune with nice keys an definitely amongst one of the best on the release.
“Best Of Me” is another highlight. This track perfectly blends a catchy memorable verse with a sharply executed chorus filled with layers upon layers of brilliant vocal harmonies, a thick, rich bass line carrying the melody and an additional layer of incredible keyboard fills to produce a song that’s nothing less than an instant melodic rock / AOR classic. This song has anything and everything any fan of the genre could possibly ask for, and once more, it’s all executed with a class and style that’s plain and simply FARCRY.
Another winner is “Too Hot To Hold”, which comes charging out of the gate with the pedal pinned firmly to the proverbial floor and races pell-mell to a ripping harmonic chorus. Fat bass sound and one of Fry’s best guitar solos on the release.
Finally, “When The Lights Go Down” ends the disc in the form of a tight melodic rocker complete with melodic guitars, keyboards and a big hook.
I can’t say enough about this release. The melodies, the arrangements, the production, the flow… everything a melodic rock / AOR fan could ever ask for all wrapped up in one, neat little package called “Optimism”.
While the band as a whole is a tight, cohesive unit, a sizable chunk of credit for this mission accomplishment rests squarely on the shoulders of guitarist Pete Fry. As he fires off a string of fret-burning fusillades, you may find yourself wondering if he wears endothermic gloves to keep his fingers from bursting into flames.
No disrespect to the rest of the band, who handle their duties capably on the excellent rhythm section and vocal performance, but it is Fry’s melodic incendiary licks and scorching solos that elevate this album from standard-issue melodic hard rock to something that merits your attention.
With good albums like this being released, fans of the genre have reason to be ‘optimistic’, not just about the future of FarCry, but the future of melodic hard rock in general.
Definitely a high-quality offering.
01 – Satisfaction
02 – Over And Over (Again)
03 – Nothing You Can Do
04 – Better Than This
05 – Love At First Sight
06 – Now That It’s Over
07 – Free
08 – Best Of Me
09 – Too Hot To Hold
10 – When The Lights Go Down
Mark Giovi – Lead Vocals
Pete Fry – Guitar
Ronnie Parkes – Bass
Tommy John – Drums
Angelo Mazza – Rhythm Guitar
Eric Ragno – Keyboards