Alexis by Alexis Gerred starts out with a mid-2000s modern rock vibe reminiscent of The Fray and OneRepublic.
True to its name, Sweet Angel starts sweetly with a message of support. The tempo soon picks up to match Gerred’s powerhouse vocals. There’s a preview of what’s to come later with a hint of falsetto harmony.
There’s also a brief but dramatic hard stop, a device put to such good effect on Liv Austen’s debut album, A Moment Of Your Time. That’s no coincidence! Its co-producer, multi-instrumentalist Jon Wright, also produced this album. At the same time. Presumably he never sleeps! Both records have a cohesive and professional sound that you’d usually expect only from veteran producers.
Take the warmth and expansiveness of Face The Crowd, for instance. It has a pace and vibrancy that deftly reflects and harnesses Gerred’s background in rock musicals. It all leads to a gang vocal/choir hybrid, then a siren signals the return of a singalong chorus that’s tailor made for the stage. This one’s memorable.
Hold You Close is a change of pace, a gentle ballad focusing on Gerred’s tender vocal and Wright’s delicate guitar work. Like Sweet Angel, there’s a message of support: “don’t let anyone take away your dreams/stay true to you.”
Rule The World is the first of the album’s duets. There’s foreshadowing of Danielle Steer’s presence with echoes in the first verse, but there’s simply no preparation for the 80s power vocal onslaught that’s about to come. When Gerred and Steer get together for the chorus it’s like they’re each raising their game to match the other. Again, this has the feeling of an earnest rock musical song. It’s no surprise that Steer is a veteran of Bat Out Of Hell and We Will Rock You.
Save Me is like the ballad towards the end of the show, just before everything turns out alright through the love of a good woman and the redemptive power of music. Later, The Lucky Ones is basically the coda about the end of the relationship (but it’s OK because they’ve both grown as people!) Lyrically, the song links back to Sweet Angel.
Don’t Let Go and Road To Redemption both showcase Gerred’s rock vocal prowess. Imagine a cross between Rent and American Idiot. No Other Girl closes out the album suitably dramatically for an album that combines modern rock, power pop and West End drama.
We’ve saved the best to last because we’ve yet to find anything that Liv Austen doesn’t make better. Including chocolate. Including music. In Home, Austen’s voice is warm and expressive. Rule The World saw a pair of powerhouse vocals, whereas in this case the duet partners match each other with sweetness. Stylistically it’s the outlier, but it rounds out the record perfectly and showcases Gerred’s versatility. It’s got heart.
ALEXIS is out now. Plenty of time to get familiar with it ahead of his album launch show at The Water Rats on January 12, 2019! Head to his website where you can buy both the album and tickets to the show.