In 2010, Canadian singer Harry Hess formed First Signal. It was a melodic rock sound that he was motivated to sing and while his inspiration is other band Harem Scarem, it has a different sound to it. Harem Scarem is a hard rock band and this is definitely melodic rock. For this album, you can definitely hear the influence of Swedish producer Daniel Flores. Flores also offers his talent on this album, playing drums and keyboards. Michael Palace plays both bass and guitar on this album. This is First Signal’s second album and was released on June 3rd of this year.
The second track on this album is one of my favourites. “Love Gets Through” is a feel-good song and takes me back to a simpler time when hair metal was king.
“Still Pretending” highlights Hess’ gravelly voice. It offers a great melody that keeps you engaged and the chorus keeps me singing all day. It has a breakdown near the end that makes you close your eyes and just imagine seeing them live. This is the song on the album that kept me listening to the rest of One Step Over the Line. To me, it differentiates from other Swedish inspired albums.
The first sounds of “Minute of Your Time” is keyboards. Now this would usually make me skip a song immediately, but I’m very glad I didn’t in this case. This song offers a bit of a different rhythm and, ironically, the drums are a bit more evident in this one.
“She’s Getting Away” starts off with these words as the first lyrics. Hess does a great job of starting out quietly and then letting it rip in the chorus.
“December Rain” is a powerful song. I was expecting your typical ballad, maybe thinking about “November Rain” by a completely different band. Turns out, I was completely mistaken. This song has drums, and is a more upbeat song than I was prepared for.
“Pedestal” has a focus on guitar and drums and is a bit more upbeat and “hard rock’ish” than the other songs. The lyrics are really good too. How many of us have put someone we love on a pedestal only to have them look down on us? The lyrics are clean and very clear, letting the listener think about their own lives while singing along.
The title track, “One Step Over the Line” is actually number eleven on the album, which I found very unusual. Not like some other albums that put their music that is not their best at the end, this one hooked me. In fact, the vast majority of the songs I liked from this album were in the middle and end rather than the first three or four. The quality is very consistent throughout the album.
I enjoyed this album. If you like Swedish melodic rock, you will find a favourite song on this album. Yet, there was something just different about it to keep me engaged where other albums that are inspired by Swedish rock can start to sound all the same.
I give this album 7 / 10 horns.
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