Album Review: Cherry Suede – Between Here and There

Cherry Suede – Between Here and There

The Backstory

I first ran across Cherry Suede‘s music in late 2013, relatively early in my rediscovery of new music after a decade “on hiatus.” They were by far the best new melodic hard rock act I found during this time period, providing me with a new band to enjoy in the genre that has been my favorite since I was a teenager. In fact, a review of Between Here and There is somewhat difficult to write because I’ve played this album so many times; when I try to think of examples of bands the songs remind me of, the most obvious answer is “Cherry Suede.” But I’ll give it a shot…

Album Review of Cherry Suede: Between Here and There

I’d expect to see Cherry Suede on the road with FireHouse, Bon Jovi, Kix, and other energetic hard rock bands. At the same time, the band’s ballads are soft, powerful, and effective like Journey’s. Like so many hard rock bands of a certain era (actually, most of the rock ‘n roll era), the songs are largely about romance – looking for it, losing it, savoring it, and anguishing about it. But songwriting only matters if a band can back it up with musicianship, and from the vocals to the occasional blistering axework, Cherry Suede has that in spades.

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This particular album kicks off with an energetic weekend party song with a hint at fun or romance, “Saturday Night.” Oh, sure it starts softly and gently with a piano intro, but over the course of the song the energy builds and teases until it climaxes as a fun romp of guitars, energy, and expressive rock vocals. The energy of this song is eventually similar to Loverboy’s “Workin’ for the Weekend,” though the pace is a little slower and it’s stylistically purely Cherry Suede.

Energetic, cheerful rockers “I’ll Be Waiting” and “Life in a Day” are a couple of my personal favorites. Guitar riffs, well-placed solos, insistent, gruffly enthusiastic vocals. These are songs that would get a crowd up and dancing at an arena concert.

The band slows it down well, too. “Worth the Wait,” for example, hints at a little country twang in its guitar line, supporting an almost-pleading, powerful, explosive vocal track. Classic classic-rock ballad. “After the Rain (10.29.12),” meanwhile, has a bluesy vocal with a psychedelic slow rock sound bed; structurally reminiscent of an Enuff Z’Nuff ballad. And “Never Gonna Let You Go” is an extremely slow ballad with sort of a country-blues pace and style. Stylistically, Cherry Suede’s ballads cover a lot of ground.

Toward the end of the disc, “So Lonely” features ’60s rock harmonies and sports Beatles-ish songwriting. But close your eyes and picture the Partridge Family singing this one; I bet you can. Just something about the vibe.

In the end, Between Here and There is a top-shelf arena rock album. The band focuses on its songwriting and lyrics and possesses the chops to execute. Which brings me back to my Bon Jovi and FireHouse comparison. As with those bands, Cherry Suede is a guitar-based, song-driven rock band with a big enough sound to rock an arena, even on its ballads, with enough vocal and guitar oomph and talent to satisfy hard rockers and melodic light-metal fans but with crooning abilities to attract soft rock fans, too.

On the Road

Cherry Suede is currently on the road in the UK. Per the ticket purchase section of the band’s website, Cherry Suede’s remaining dates on its UK tour are: tonight, Saturday, April 2, at The Hug and Pint in Glasgow; Friday, April 8, at Cellar 35 in Aberdeen, and Friday, April 15, at The Underbelly in London.  After that, the band already has two gigs booked in Canada in the coming months: a Saturday, May 14, gig at La Vitrola in Montreal; and a Saturday, June 25, show at The Central in Toronto.

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