Music tastes can sometimes be brutal and when a band puts out a stellar well written performed Maximus Rock Opus and it gets ignored due to that genres taste that’s a shame friend and this would be the case for Harem Scarems Mood Swings released in 1993 and only got as high as 85 on the Canadian Charts?!! Like seriously? If this slab of good ol school hard rock had been unleashed say 1991 I think a different outcome would have happened for the Scarem easily a seller cause well it’s Stellar!!
Now this is my fav Harem Scarem that I own and when there debut was released in 91 and I seen the vids on Much Music I passed it was just like they were trying to my ears anyways a Canadian Foreigner! Hey I’m not knocking Foreigner and I’m not knocking Harem Scarems debut it just passed me by I mean Skid Row releases Slave To The Grind in 1991 and the thing just rocks like gang busters so I wasn’t into say that melodic side who knows though maybe there are rockers on it? I’ll have to re read Ladanos review of it again and figure it out…..
So For one record for me by the Scarem this just blitzes….thanks Harry,Pete,Darren and Mike….
SAVIOURS NEVER CRY-Pete Lesperance starts off with some cool little cranked up picking and then bam the songs kicks in and we’re off to the races! Harem uses keys on this record to enhance not bury the guitar mix on this album well done fellas! It’s pretty evident early on that the chorus’ on this album are gonna be big and damn catchy case in point this songs. Pete is one good guitar player man and Harry Hess nails the vocal delivery and whats more impressive is that the lead singers name is Harry! F#*kin cool!
NO JUSTICE-big badass backing vocals open the second track and were rocking with the debut single! The verse is really cool some cool Pete effects on his guitar blast this song and man the dude lays down a solo epic of one EVH….bravo! Cool chorus cool everything on this track. I work with a pal named Rockin Roberts and man he don’t talk music much(he likes doing home renos and yachting) but when he does we have total common ground on this track and we were talking about it a few months back at work and he told me he plays No Justice around his kids!
STRANGER THAN LOVE- were into AOR land here and it’s ok Harem delivers it with a ooooomph in other words a kick in the ass. Perhaps this could have been a left over from the debut that’s ok man I can’t blame em for trying to score chicks with the slower material.
CHANGES COME AROUND-Harem bids adieu to the girls on the bus or kicks em off and launches into full rock out mode with Changes and man this song just gets ya fired up. That’s the thing with these guys that over time they have carved out their own niche,in not too many Canadian bands can boast some big ass vocals and power rock riffs and pull it off!
JEALOUSY- you wanna talk about sleeper tracks. Well friends this is one of em and now this is one of my faves off of Mood Swings. Pete plays some real bluesy riffs and under his guitar is some cool sounds like to me a Hammond driving the tune. Harry slams the door shut with the vocal delivery and man just a great rock track!
SENTIMENTAL BOULEVARD- Darren Smith the drummer (who now sings with Jake E Lees Red Dragon Cartel) nails the vocal here kids and the song is a friggin catchy number and once again Harem uses the keys but they know how not to alienate the rock guys(moi) into thinking it’s not some kinda Nightranger cast off. Come to think of it, doesn’t Nightranger have some kind of tune called oh wait a minute it might be Sentimental Street! I’d have to ask Tbone as he’s the Nightranger specialist!(hahaha)
MANDY- is Pete playing a little wee electric guitar nice little piece of music….
EMPTY PROMISES-bam bam the drums kick off this tune and this song is another one of those hidden rock gems buried at the back of the record. Cool,snappy chorus and some cool tempo changes and oh yeah cool vocals !
IF THERE WAS A TIME- yep another big kindish slow mo rock track and its Harem not trying to Scarem girls outta here! It’s ok man to have feelings but just don’t sap out! This coulda been a hit but like i said earlier it was a finicky musical climate back in 93.
JUST LIKE I PLANNED-Harry and Pete pull out the acoustics for a 2 minute little ditty before they plug back in the Marshalls and crank into….
HAD ENOUGH- like all records with guitar action some songs just start out of the gate with some super cool riffage! Had Enough settles the deal once and for all! This song just blazes forth with a cool double bass drum chorus and Pete rips into a solo that just sends the album off the charts and yep Harry said he’s Had Enough! Well if we’re keeping score I would say Had Enough and Jealously are my two top notchers!
IN CONCLUSION-Harem Scarem stuck to their guns back in 93 and I’m glad they did as soon as I heard No Justice on Muchmusic I was a buyer not only for myself but my bro Todd who need to hear some good guitar rock as he was dabbling in rap rock or whatever the f*^k the kids called it back than! Seriously though Harem delivered a big sounding well produced rock piece that still holds it own today. By that I mean back in 2013 Harem wanted to release a 20th anniversary edition of Mood Swings but there old record company said Nope. So Harry and Pete said Fuck you and re recorded Mood Swings with 3 extra new songs and their good tracks as well(World Gone To Pieces,Anarchy and Brighter Day) so basically Mood Swings the 2013 version is as good as the 93 version! Just a little upgrade in the sonics and now I’ve read that Harem Scarem is gonna put out a new album this year called 13! Good on em…..