Canadian Rockers Harem Scarem released their second album – the original “Mood Swings” – in 1993. Now 20 years later the band celebrates the anniversary of such career-defining release re-recording from scratch the eleven songs and also adding three new bonus tracks in the spirit of the original “Mood Swings” direction.
Harem Scarem disbanded after the release of their last album “Hope” in 2008. Five years later, rumours about a possible reunion for some shows started to circulate and were confirmed once Firefest announced the band as headliner of the first night of the event on Friday October 18th when the band will perform the entire Mood Swings record live, since they had never officially toured that release outside of Canada. Harem Scarem loved the idea and this led to booking an extensive European and Asian tour, including the band’s second show ever in the US at the Melodic Rock Fest 3 inSeptember in Chicago.
As the idea developed the band decided to do a modern recording of “Mood Swings”, trying to keep true to the original intent as well as writing and recording three brand new tracks. Then it was decided to include a “making of ” video and also to have four songs broken down into individual audio tracks, so that fans can re-mix or play along with the songs.
But, you ask, what of the album? Plus…why should I examine Harem Scarem at all? First off this is the band that Rock Sugar’s Jess Harnell describes as “the band that should have been Bon Jovi” (see the Rock Sugar “5 CDs I Can’t Live Without” article http://www.rock-zone.co.uk/2012/04/10/5-cds-actually-15-that-rock-sugar-cant-live-without/ ). On the back of Jess’s recommendation I checked out the original “Mood Swings” and their Greatest Hits record … and he’s right. The albums blended the harder edge of the better (and older!) Bon Jovi tracks with a smooth melodic backbone. Great guitars, vocals and a strong selection of songs.
“Mood Swings II” keeps the original vibe but gives a great twist from the modern production values. The three new songs fit perfectly with the original eleven and it is quite apparent that these Canadians are, quite probably, one of the most under-rated bands in the melodic rock genre. Not from the point of view of those fans who know the music but from those of us who should have known Harem Scarem for 20+ years! Last year we reviewed frontman Harry Hess’s solo record “Living in Yesterday” ( http://www.rock-zone.co.uk/2012/08/30/hess-living-in-yesterday/ ) which we desccribed as near perfect, melodic rock. Proving that the sum of the parts is greater than than the individuals, this is even better (even though the majority of songs here are re-worked) …. far better than Non Jovi will be without a certain Mr Sambora!
NA: September 24th 2013
EU: September 27th 2013
CD:Saviors Never Cry; No Justice; Stranger Than Love; Change Comes Around; Jealousy; Sentimental Blvd.; Mandy; Empty Promises; If There Was A Time; Just Like I Planned; Had Enough; World Gone To Pieces; Anarchy; Brighter Day.
DVD: “Re-Making Of Mood Swings” documentary; Audio Files: Change Comes Around, Saviours Never Cry, No Justice