HOUSTON – Relaunch III (2023) *HQ*

HOUSTON - Relaunch III (2023) - full

The Stockholm, Sweden-based HOUSTON is back with a third album in their Relaunch series, the aptly titled ”Relaunch III” on July 14, 2023 via Frontrier Music. The basic concept behind the Relaunch albums is for Houston to shine a light on obscure, unknown AOR gems from their personal musical collections.
The first Relaunch album was released in 2011 and featured a cover of ‘Runaway’ by Dakota. The band collaborated on a video for the song with Danny MacAskill, a professional BMX rider, and his sponsor Red Bull and it became a huge success, with over 90 million views on YouTube and close to 2 million streams on Spotify, as of this writing. Much to AOR fans delight, and especially the guys in Houston, the success of the ‘Runaway’ cover got Dakota to reunite and record a brand new studio album
Houston, an AOR band themselves, are true AOR connoisseurs and want to pay their respects to these legendary artists and songs. And they did it again on ”Relaunch III” with class.
On ”Relaunch III” we find 9 covers (see full tracklist below), as usual 2 new originals, and 2 Remix 80’s. AOR feast my friends…

Opener is new track “Live forever”, a classic AOR tune yet with a modern production, where Michael Palace not only provide guitar but also production advice. Next we have the first wonderful cover: Marc Jordan’s “Slipping away” (1983). A Westcoast songs in Houston hands much more melodic rocker.
Then one of our fav covers: Atlantic’s “Power over Me” (1994). This is a killer song from a killer band, Houston serves a much more melodic version with a true Swedish sound. Great one!

Blackjack’s “Heart of stone” (1979) is a pearl written by Bolton/Kulick. Houston does a terrific version as while the song sound very Seventies, it feels fresh anyway. Hank Erix deliver one of his best vocal performances.
David Pack’s “She Don’t (Come Around Anymore)” (1985) is pure gold. A pristine production, crystal clear keys and sweet arrangements on this take.

It’s time for a new, original song, “Do you Love”. Retro-Wave AOR with new wave touch and a Scandi sound all over. Great work of Palace agin on guitar, and overall, a top class Houston song.
oMG they did Van Zant song “She’s out with a Gun” from their incredible 1985. This track is gorgeous, it was in the ’80s, it is now. Thanks Houston!
More quality continues with Van Stephenson’s classic “Modern day Delilah” (1984) – we all love this song – a fleeding Prophet’s “Sound Of A Breaking Heart” (1988), Franke & The Knockouts “Outrageous” (1984), Urgent 1984 “Running back” (one of the best tunes in AOR history)… dude, the song selection here is out of this world!

If you don’t have enough, Houston ends the album with two more gifts, the new songs remixed in ’80s style… I love these guys.
It’s hard to find a more retro AOR 80s album like ”Relaunch III” in recent time… and so well done. Do yourself a favor and grab this.


1. Live Forever (New Track)
2. Slipping Away (originally by Marc Jordan)
3. Power Over Me (originally by Atlantic)
4. Heart Of Stone (originally by Blackjack)
5. She Don’t Come Around Anymore (originally by David Pack)
6. Do You Believe (New Track)
7. She’s Out With A Gun (originally by Van Zant)
8. Modern Day Delilah (originally by Van Stephenson)
9. Sound Of A Breaking Heart (originally by Prophet)
10. Outrageous (originally by Franke & The Knockouts)
11. Running Back (originally by Urgent)
12. Live Forever (80’s Remix)
13. Do You Believe (80’s Remix)

Hank Erix – Lead and background vocals
Carl Hammar – Lead guitar
Richard Hamilton – Keyboards, Piano
Niels Walter – Bass
Additional musicians:
Erik Modin – Drums, Keyboards, Backing vocals, Guitars
Michael Palace (Backing vocals & guitars on 1, 6)


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1 Response

  1. Neil Tudor says:

    an absolute stormer of a covers album…… choices are superb.
    “Outrageous” from Franke and The Knockouts, Modern Day Delilah, Van Stephenson, bona fide AOR cult classics from the 80s

    Not a duff song here.

    their own two songs stand up too…. and the remixes of them…with a synth retro vibe are brilliantly done

    bravo!!! CD on order..released tomorrow

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