I coundn't resist to check "Shine", the last album from Canadian singer / songwriter JON MULLANE after reading the credits in the booklet: almost the entire Harem Scarem crew is involved.
Creighton Doane not only play almost all instruments and co-wrote, but also produced the whole thing, Pete Lesperance play guitar on various tracks, while the mastering was at charge of Harry Hess.
There’s a total ’80s radio-rock vibe to Jon Mullane‘s "Shine". That melodic, tuneful melodic rock&pop that made the careers of singers like Rick Springfield, Starship’s Mickey Thomas, Billy Squier, and others of that era.
Jon’s voice is medium-high; the songs are melodic and harmonious mixing keyboards and guitars; the melodies soar. But here’s what’s often forgotten about the best of that genre, the reason it’s timeless.
While catchy melodies are a prerequisite, the best vocalists, like Jon, have an emotional edge to their vocals, a connection between singer and song, that cause the tunes to really hit home.
Mullane kicks the CD off with the catchy “My New American Girl.” Though I’m hesitant to abuse the Rick Springfield comparison, because Jon’s voice has only a passing resemblance to Rick’s, this song is energetically rather similar to Springfield’s early '80s albums. It's a simple song, but darn catchy.
“Shine On Tonight” follows with its very Eighties hand-claps punctuating the fun, energetic mid-tempo rocker. Then “Way Up” establishes the hopeful, sedatedly energetic tone of the album – mid-tempo and happy – as its bridges soar and its rock guitar and synths / keyboards establish an upbeat energy that well suits Jon’s crisp-with-a-roughness, emotional voice.
Jon Mullane has found some recent critical success with another of my favorite songs on the album. The video for single “Born Beautiful” was honored by the International Music and Entertainment Awards as Music Video of the Year. The song itself is a heartstring-tugging, emotional midtempo number that pops with soaring vocal.
“Take Me Away” brings back the '80s fun radio-rock. Again with the soaring vocals, by now it’s apparent they’re a Jon Mullane staple, a well-honed calling card that distinguish the songs on this album as being uniquely and engagingly his.
Distorted guitar takes center stage on a couple late-album numbers worth mentioning. The energy and enthusiasm of “So Into U” and “Body Rock” are great Eighties-flavored arena rock tunes that keep the energy going… and the body moving (or rocking), setting the listener up for the well-placed soft landing.
Indeed, the album closes with a second rendition of the powerful emotional ballad “Any Other Way.”, this time just with piano. If there’s a song on "Shine" that’ll touch you, this is the one… both times. Even if you don’t listen to the lyrics, you’ll feel it from the gravel in Jon’s vocals and the way his voice cracks in the “emotional spots.” Great performance of a heartugger; classic way to end the disc.
Very well recorded & produced by the Harem Scarem team, Jon Mullane‘s "Shine" is a delicious slice of radio friendly melodic rock / rock&pop with that unmistakable '80s feel all over.
01 - My New American Girl
02 - Shine on Tonight
03 - Way Up
04 - In Your Life
05 - Don't Let Go
06 - Any Other Way
07 - Born Beautiful
08 - Take Me Away
09 - So into U
10 - Body Rock
11 - Any Other Way (Piano/Vox Mix) [bonus track]
Jon Mullane: vocals, guitar, keyboards
Creighton Doane (Harem Scarem): guitar, bass, drums, vocals
Pete Lesperance (Harem Scarem): guitar
Peter Dolomont: guitar
Kathryn Rose, Ashley Campbell: backing vocals
Produced by Creighton Doane
Mastered by Harry Hess (Harem Scarem)
BUY IT !