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Harem Scarem – Thirteen [2014]

Harem Scarem return with their thirteenth album cleverly titled Thirteen and it’s yet another very strong album in a long career full of high quality melodic rock. Following on from their hiatus from making music under the Harem Scarem banner, the production team of Harry Hess and Pete Lesperance have brought all their awesome musicianship and studio skills back to please their small but loyal fan base with a sound that recounts their past while experimenting with arrangements and some slightly heavier guitar riffs.

Thirteen really is an excellent showcase for guitarist Pete Lesperance who holds back nothing as he delivers unique riffs, brilliant production overdubs, and solos that scream virtuosity in nearly every song. Harry Hess is a powerhouse singer that continues to create memorable vocal melodies while building amazing harmonies with ex-drummer Darren Smith and the rhythm section is as strong as always held together by solid drumming from Creighton Doane and bass playing by Pete Lesperance.

Highlights include the massive chorus hook and killer solo of opener “Garden Of Eden”, the reggae rock verse and awesome chorus vocals of “The Midnight Hours”, the amazing ballad “Whatever It Takes” that features a huge vocal chorus by Hess that is both sentimental in its delivery and epic in its backing vocals, the brilliant arrangement of “All I Need” that builds to the best chorus on the album featuring breathtaking layered harmonies, and the existential lyrical sentiment of “Stardust” that closes the album in amazing style featuring more great harmonies over a sublime chorus and yet another tasteful yet technical guitar solo.

The Japanese edition features the bonus acoustic version of “The Midnight Hours”, which retains the melodic chorus of the original while adding a soulful acoustic groove, and a bonus second disc of a live concert recorded in Japan during their last tour which, whilst not recorded in high quality, is certainly nice for fans and collectors. Despite the fact that it might not set the world alight for anyone that hasn’t already warmed to the slick sound this band is known for, Thirteen is definitely a quality album that is essential for all Harem Scarem fans and should be required listening for all aspiring studio musicians.

Band Members
Creighton Doane – Drums
Darren Smith – Backing Vocals
Harry Hess – Lead & Backing Vocals, Keyboards
Pete Lesperance – Guitars, Bass, Keyboards

Disc 1
01. Garden Of Eden (3:36)
02. Live It (3:51)
03. Early Warning Signs (3:44)
04. The Midnight Hours (3:56)
05. Whatever It Takes (3:21)
06. Saints And Sinners (3:24)
07. All I Need (3:53)
08. Troubled Times (3:37)
09. Never Say Never (3:35)
10. Stardust (4:53)
11. The Midnight Hours {Acoustic Version} [Japan Bonus Track] (3:19)

Disc 2
01. Hard To Love (Live)
02. If There Was A Time (Live)
03. Sentimental BLVD. (Live)
04. Stranger Than Love (Live)
05. Mandy (Live)
06. Had Enough (Live)
07. No Justice (Live)
08. Change Comes Around (Live)

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Harem Scarem - Thirteen [2014], 8.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
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