Scorcher by Arizona’s Fire Alley is a throwback to the days of AOR / melodic hard rock when bands had the freedom to take the time to craft their own songs and not have to rely on “song doctors” to help those bands that could not stand on their own material.
On the lead track City Girl, Fire Alley sounds like a cross between Salty Dog and Legs Diamond. A bizarre comparison you might say, but that is what I hear! The song has all the qualities of rock radio friendly single. Got To Tell Me is rather similar to Raquel’s Dark City and vocalist James Welch even sounds a bit like Ron English. The Legs Diamond comparative is further drawn on the tracks One More Time (Lover’s Last Stand) and She’s A Deceiver which both also have traces of midwest legends Shooting Star thrown in for good measure. Typical Rock ‘N’ Roll has Rock N Roll Machine era Triumph written all over it. Welch cites influences such as Paul Rodgers, Otis Redding and Steve Perry and on this blues-soaked, harmonica-laced track the Rodgers influences shines bright. This is not one of those phony L.A. blues songs that polluted 1988 to 1992.
Pay The Price and Victim Of The Night are also obvious rock radio singles as is Over Me, which also has elements of Triumph to it as well. Welch takes the spotlight on I Can’t Get Enough which could easily be a Bon Jovi ballad. Closing track One Big Party has all the signs of the set closer written all over it. The song has a bit of .38 Special’s Rockin’ Through The Night running through its veins.
Guitarist Jack “Jaxxon” Schwarz brings years of experience as a musician and respected guitar technician (having worked for Fender Musical Instruments hosting guitar clinics). While he cites Hendrix, Beck and Clapton as influences, his style definitely blends blues with melodic American hard rock of the late 70’s and early 80’s. The back end of Mark Blythe (bass) and Michael Scott (Vyper, Prizoner) are solid players and keep things very tight throughout the album.
There was a time when releases like this flooded the market (and most were darn good!) but with the winds of change across the music industry, they are now rare. Scorcher is to me like a the summer soundtrack of 1982 (a great year!). Fire Alley will take you back to a time when songs actually told an interesting story with a keen sense of melody and superb vocals. Within 2 listens, most of the songs will be readily recognizable. I imagine Fire Alley would be killer to see in live setting where a bit of improvisation would make these songs even hotter. Please visit the Fire Alley web site to purchase a copy of Scorcher.