Unforgettable Ride, the nine-song album from Denver’s Love Stallion, pays creative homage to melodic 80’s-early 1990’s hard rock. Love Stallion might seem a bit like a band out of time, but they present their material with a clear modern sound and a high level of musicianship shielding them from any wagging tongues eager to denigrate their skills.
Many might compare the band to Steel Panther, but the band diverges from such comparisons because they aren’t playing the genre for laughs – instead, their musical skills practically demand they be taken seriously while still giving their listeners and audience immense entertainment. Based on the material included with this album, they are undoubtedly a gripping live act and the new album should exponentially expand their profile and create new opportunities for Love Stallion to bring their music to the masses.
“Slow Release” opens the release with a sense of deliberateness you don’t often hear from acts such as this. The mid-tempo pace will be no impediment to this tune succeeding in a live setting thanks to Kevin Embers’ spot on lead guitar and Aaron Hart’s varied, yet impassioned, vocal delivery. The true extent of the band’s melodic hard rock credentials comes across vividly with the song’s chorus, the first of many such moments, and the backing vocals enrich Hart’s already fine performance. “Ignite the Night” is the first song you’ll point to on this album and say, yeah, that’s a great number for radio and live shows.
The lightly exhortative quality in Hart’s voice helps put this one over the top and, even by album’s end, most listeners will rightly still regard this as one of the best all-around commercial efforts included on Unforgettable Ride. The riff driving “Big Rock Radio” is, thankfully, the best one of a good bunch and sets an early tone for the song that carries it through to its conclusion. To their credit, Love Stallion never overtly plays this style of music and their songs for laughs, but there’s certainly a playfulness they make their own reflected in the song title and lyrics.
“Hide Me Away” is another impressive effort coming at the album’s midway point and boasts a boisterous, audience pleasing sound sure to make this one of the highlights of the band’s live set. Their vocal talents hit a new peak with the song’s middle section – the main riff retreats for a time and the band’s singers harmonize beautifully while lead guitarist Kevin Embers adorns the section with some tasteful swaths of atmosphere. Embers’ guitar solo for the album’s penultimate cut “High Time” is his best on Unforgettable Ride and the assertive stride of the song gives the album an unexpected shot of energy as it nears its end.
They double down on that with the finale “Trans Am” and the drumming takes control with an athletic, precise performance that, nevertheless, swings for listeners. Love Stallion’s Unforgettable Ride definitely wouldn’t have been out of place in 1988, but it’s a testament to the band’s talent that it doesn’t sound any less out of place thirty years later.
-review by Bethany Page