Night Ranger is not only one of my favorite bands out there but most importantly a true valuable force to be reckoned with as in a 10-year timeframe has come up with no less than four studio albums. Quite an achievement in this time and age, right? “ATBPO” (And The Band Played On, that is…) was written and recorded in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic thus adding an extra interesting element in order to see how the band coped with the overall situation. Truth be told here; as a die-hard fan of the band, I must say that every record since 2011 and the impressive “Somewhere in California” shows signs of weariness but not on an alarming level. So, what’s the case with “ATBPO”?
The record is definitely guitar-driven and less keyboard-oriented with Gillis and Kelli shine throughout the 12 tracks. Jack Blades is the imposing figure as he handles the majority of the lead vocals with Keagy taking a backseat on “ATBPO”. All in all, we are treated with 5 unbelievable songs, 2 OK ones and 5 fillers. In other words, it’s not a failure but we were definitely expecting more from this legendary band. Nevertheless, when you listen to such stellar songs as the opening one “Coming For You” (that takes us back in the mid-90s with its “Neverland” aura) or the breathtaking “Cold As December”, you instantly remember that this is classic Night Ranger we are talking about!
I could have lived without some of the pseudocountry/pop elements on the album but it is what it is. Some would say that Night Ranger didn’t deliver the goods on this one…I don’t share this opinion. However, I always expect only the best from the mighty Night Ranger. Hopefully, next time the guys will be back with a far stronger album.
Highlight: 40 years of Night Ranger. Blades/Gillis/Keagy carry on strong as ever. Thank you for the music, lads!