Sound — 7
Reckless Love are one of the bands out there who are bounding forward with the sounds of modern studio production and contemporary pop rock while retaining some bold elements that vividly decorated the 1980s glam metal movement that characterized the Sunset Strip. Each of the band's four members have the long hair, leather, and denim which was all too common among the heavyweights of vintage hard rock, however while such previous installment as their 2010 self-titled debut and the 2013 highlight "Spirit" demonstrated bonafide nostalgic qualities around authoritative musicianship and attitude, Reckless Love's newly issued fourth studio album "InVader" shows the members of this vicious group leaning closer and closer towards a more mainstream sound. Such alterations have always been present in Reckless Love's sound and previous releases; "Hot" from 2011's "Animal Attraction" was at moments on the edge of breaking into full fledged pop rock territory, often held back by the compelling guitar style of Pepe Salohalme and lead vocalist Olli Herman's often bewildering ability to hit atmospheric screams ala David Lee Roth and Joe Elliott. That being said, where "Animal Attraction" showed Reckless Love perhaps considering tipping their hand (and "Spirit" served as a far heavier release rooted firmly in heavy metal territory), "InVader" falls more in line with the former by blending aggressive rock guitar with melodic refrains and a plush production.
"We Are the Weekend" opens up with an electronic intro before demonstrating a chemistry which Reckless Love have played much to their favor - concrete percussion, climatic group vocals, a formidable guitar solo and hooks abound. Synthesized arrangements find their way into the mix more than on previous efforts, which attributes moderate amounts of pop into the works; rounded out by a talk-sung breakdown, this is still the Reckless Love that familiar listeners have come to recognize, more or less. "Hands" changes the mood from the get-go with that raw, palm-muted guitar which leads into an arena rock anthem that's bound to settle among live audiences, however it's with "Monster" that the members of Reckless Love fall a little out of line. Described by some dedicated fans early on as "Britney Spears meets metal," the high pitched vocal samples over the pre-chorus and that opening lyric "Perky babe with the plastic boobs and the needles in her skin" just don't fair well for this unit. The band heads back towards familiar territory with the blissfully melodic "Children of the Sun," a song that has more of an emphasis on electronic pop rock than anything but retains relevance through tasteful leads and a chorus that bound to catch the ear of even the most casual of rock listener. Where the previous tracks may have been hit and miss, it's a strong success with "Bullettime" - a song which doesn't look to revolutionize rock lyrics but remains energetic, formidable and retains that high octane, fist pounding sound which was previously featured among the most rambunctious of songs on the band's previous three efforts.
Sure, Reckless Love might be pandering to their European audience with "Scandinavian Girls," however there are already plenty of songs about women in the United States and the composition suits the song rather well here, unifying the pop feel of "Children of the Sun" with the raunchy attitude of "Hands." The band calls upon references to "Animal Attraction" once again with "Pretty Boy Swagger" and "Rock It," songs which drag sampled elements among the synthesizers, smoking leads, ranging falsetto, bass lines and momental percussion. While the album's bonus track "Keep It Up All Night" was very early on set into the same boat as "Monster" for obvious reasons (particularly the unapologetic delve straight into pop rock territory), "Destiny" could pass as a "Spirit" outtake because of the overall balance of electronica and hard rock guitar. "Let's Get Cracking" ends the album on a high note with pick grinding guitar and Olli Herman's fast paced approach to the lyrics, before winding out with a bluesy acoustic rock outro not unlike the title track from Van Halen's "Women and Children First." For all of the album's missteps, the final impression with "InVader" is how Reckless Love were able to once again achieve that vintage rock sound.
Lyrics — 7
For all of the ventures into mainstream pop territory that Reckless Love tried here with their fourth album "InVader," lead vocalist Olli Herman is responsible for keeping the outcome planted in familiar territory. While Jalle Verne's bass lines, Hessu Maxx's percussion work and Pepe's consistently impressive guitar stylings don't necessarily waver throughout the course of the album, it's the wild (and rather frequent) departures which play to the album's downside here and Herman's unique snarl reminiscent of numerous '80s hard rock vocalists (Elliott, Roth, Winger, etc.) keeps the end result falling into palatable territory.
Overall Impression — 7
While the members of Reckless Love did attempt to cross over into the mainstream pop rock music scene more than once with their fourth album "InVader," the album retains enough of their signature glam metal attitude to remain standout. Why the band doesn't just try to maintain their strengths in hard rock and heavy metal is beyond this listener; their successes with songs such as "Hands," "Bullettime" and even the slightly progressive "Scandinavian Girls" are among the album's highlights here and another album in the vein of "Spirit" wouldn't have been underappreciated. Regardless, there are enough memorable moments throughout "InVader" to catch the interest of familiar listeners and constitute picking a copy up for their own collection.