Chris Bay – “Chasing The Sun” (Steamhammer / SPV)
If you’ve ever wondered what Freedom Call’s Chris Bay does in his spare time? Well, he permanently writes songs and constantly works on ideas when in the studio ha ha! Already responsible for 9 albums with his band, Bay’s own musical inspirations run much wider from the Rolling Stones to the Beatles, INXS, Spandau Ballet, Simple Minds, Ultravox and Saga all having had a lasting effect on him. As such it’s inevitable that when in (non stop) composing mode, there are gonna be songs that skirt a little wide of the Freedom Call mark but nevertheless are great rock songs. “Chasing The Sun” is Bay’s chance to showcase this material across 11 tracks that are a mixture of lite power metal, new wave rock, AOR, power pop and indeed, fusions that have come into his brilliant mind! Recorded entirely by him with only Rami Ali (Freedom Call’s drummer) adding his beat, the material is as sunshine as Bay’s personality, and not even the ballad of ‘Love Will Never Die’ can bring in a cloud as the hippy trippy harmonies just have you mellowing out maaaan. Elsewhere on ‘Hollywood Dancer’, Bay has skillfully blended some catchy modern rock with 70s Wurlitzer piano touches, making for an uplifting avant garde cabaret groove while on ‘Misty Rain’ it’s a case of 80s GnR crooning guitar meeting a slick beat graced by massive vocal harmonies. Mixing 80s glam with 90s nu metal is ‘Bad Boyz’ with its electro beat and neo goth guitars melding perfectly with a hugely catchy singalong chorus that leaves little to doubt as to Bay’s composing prowess. In fact, upon reflection, I’m not sure why Bay chose to call his first solo album “Chasing The Sun” as his radiating brilliance makes you wonder if he is indeed it!!!