Ivory Tower Project, How Much More?, 2017
Now here is a tale of determination for you. This New York based band has served as a safe haven for its members to process, and ultimately triumph, over trying times. These involve serious accidents with continued health issues, the passing of key members and so on. And I can personally relate to the feeling that making music helps with getting over troubles and keeping sane. Surviving member Mark Regula found a new partner in Tony Novarro. Their shared love for the music of Styx, Queen, Foreigner or Boston has helped shape this album, How Much More?.
Opening with the title track, that starts life as an emotive piano ballad accompanied by crying guitar lines. But it does not take that long before those melodic rock references are coming to the fore. Great chorus and harmony vocals, and more intense soloing too. Great way to start. Next is the Shakespearean tragedy made into a rock song The Ides Of March (et tu bruté). It is also nice to hear the band infuse some prog keyboard influences into their songs. Surprisingly maybe, next track Gotcha starts with a funky bass, something that is used in other tracks as well. Also scratched type vocals and additional sax give this song a light footed timbre, without losing the catchiness. Ring Around Rosie is a very commercial tune, with powerful chords and a fairly basic structure.
With 14 tracks and a playing time of almost 70 minutes, there is a lot on offer. Even if one is a remix made for dance clubs. Personal highlights for me are Burning, Way To Late and the beautiful ballad Always.
So easy choice for fans of the aforementioned bands, music tailor made to play loud while cruising.