MMXXI: The Next Era of AOR Bands?

Hard rock band The Jamie Porter Band has only been around a few years but is already beginning to generate quite the buzz. Their debut album, MMXXI, was of course released earlier this year, and I for one cannot wait to check it out as I love the genre they are going for!

‘Ready For Action’ opens on an AOR-style harmonised, powerful vocal singing the song title. The riff that comes in behind is pretty simple but damn enjoyable and bouncy! I’m getting major Poison vibes from it and I love it. There isn’t much I can say about the verses and choruses, it all stays around the same sort of level and pace, and all of it is awesome. It’s feel-good, sleazy rock and would have easily fit in with the bands back in the 80s. The guitar solo is technical, quick, and yet fits in perfectly with the rest of the music. It’s hard to match up to the likes of DeVille or Lynch in terms of skill but the lead here was pretty close! We then head into a final catchy chorus, the ‘woh’s and repeating of the song title getting immediately stuck in my head for what I imagine to be the rest of the day now. Overall, this was an awesome glam track and one that makes the playlist easily!

‘I Can’t Stop Loving You’ opens straight into a mid-tempo, glam-style riff, it staying around this sort of level for the verse. The vocals come in and any time they’re harmonised, especially during the choruses, it sounds AWESOME. The transition between the verses and choruses was a little less clear than the previous track’s, but each part is still damn enjoyable! The track drops down to a fun bridge riff after the second chorus, the guitars alternating from left to right being an interesting addition. It then just builds up to a huge final chorus to finish. Another great track!

‘Lay it on Me’ opens on a riff fairly similar to an AC/DC one, but off the top of my head, I cannot remember which one. It transitions into a different version of said riff for the chorus, the double-tracked vocals coming in over the top, adding some good depth and sounding great. The chorus is another infectiously catchy one, something that’s so simple and easy to sing along to live that it would easily have the whole crowd joining in. The solo is another awesome one, filled with swagger and wah, but maybe was a tad too short for me, I’d have happily had it go on twice as long. Especially with just how long the final chorus lasts, even with the brief interlude of just the riff in the middle. Another great song, but I’d have preferred a slightly different arrangement.

The riff that opens ‘Where We Belong’ is awesome, dripping with attitude, and it sounds even better when the rest of the band joins in too. I’ve finally realised who the vocals remind me of; Glenn Hughes. I have to admit, this one reminded me quite a lot of the last couple of tracks, especially ‘I Can’t Stop…’. It’s a great song, but it’s a very similar tempo and structure as those. The solo was a little slower this time and felt a lot more emotion-filled, with more bends and multiple notes. It reminded me a lot of Slash’s style and may be my favourite on the album! We then get another double chorus to finish off another damn good song!

‘Save Me’ finally changes up the pace a little, opening on a beautiful piano melody. The semi-distorted guitar comes in over the top before the drums and bass follow, adding to the sound more and more each time. The vocals fit perfectly over the top of it all too, and the harmonies and backing add even more awesomeness to it during the choruses. The solo is much like the last one, slower and emotion-full and it fit perfectly over the top of the ballad. A final chorus then leads to the instruments slowly dropping out again, much like how it opened. This was an AWESOME ballad and one that made the playlist with ease.

‘You Can’t Bring Me Down’ picks the pace back up again with a fun riff or two and another very catchy chorus. The same could be said for ‘Everything You Do’. Both are pretty straightforward glam/AOR rock tracks that have some good hooks and great musicianship. Heck, the latter reminded me a lot of Boston and Night Ranger in their use of the keys behind the rest of the typical rock instruments. I loved both tracks, even if a lot of it has been at a similar pace so far.

I started to feel the length of this album a little bit by the time I reached ‘Sound of Summer’. It and its follow-up tracks ‘The Last Train’ and ‘Touch the Sky’ are three amazing AOR songs, greatly enjoyable, catchy, and all-around fun to listen to. They are just that bit too similar to a lot of the other tracks on the album that I’m struggling to come up with anything else to say about them that I haven’t said already. The last song for me, in particular, was awesome, as was the riff for ‘The Last Train’, but outside of those parts it was all typically great, standard-format stuff. I don’t have a bad word to say about the tracks, I’m just running out of praise to give without repeating myself!

Overall: This was awesome. Ten amazing rock tracks that hooked me into the band immediately and left me wanting more. Their fantastic blend of hard rock, glam, blues, and AOR made for one hell of an interesting, entertaining sound. I cannot wait for this album to be released officially on streaming sites and stuff, as I will be playing it a lot! I cannot wait to see where these guys go in the future and hope they gig anywhere nearby us soon!

The Score: 8/10

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