There are times when you get caught playing with your mum’s hairspray. Rather than admit we actually listen to 80s hair metal, most of us claim transvestism. Not Serpentine, however. Living & Dying In High Definition not only bumps up the word count of this review but delivers a slice of melodic rock that’d get David Coverdale’s nipples hard.
While Serpentine certainly did their lyrical shopping down at the Discount Clichés Warehouse, power choruses in the Price of Love immediately dispel any notions of self illusion, along with a slight prog twist on the main riff. Although those thinking moments are few and far between, the meat of Living… is in the unapologetic cheese and irritatingly melodic guitar solos, Cry delivering the lead break of the record in loud-soft-loud power ballad fashion.
Although there’s many sides to AOR, Serpentine tend to stick in the Journey/Def Leppard camp. Where Do We Go From Here? has some wonderfully camp keyboards, but does leave you wanting slightly more aggression from the band, especially as the vocalist has an uncanny resemblance to late 1980’s Geoff Tate. It’s a bit of a shame, as when Serpentine do up the ante a bit on Nuremberg, the majority of the album has already passed at somewhat of a mid-tempo pace. The closer Forgotten Heroes ends Living… on a crescendo of driving guitars, punchy keys and a final fantastic chorus.
Despite owing slightly too much to the pseudo-hair rock of the late 80s, Serpentine have delivered a strong record that the AOR fans will have it spinning long after their peers’ latest effort.