Review by Andy Hawes for MPM
Hamburg based Bad Sister have been around a while, originally being called Bogart Joint before changing their name to Bad Sister in 1988.
Musically they peddle a Melodic Hard Rock/AOR style and this new album Where Will You Go (released on 25.11.22) is a wonderful piece of 80s style nostalgia that sounds as happily at home in 2022 as it would have in the late 80s.
AOR/Melodic Hard Rock afficiandos of a certain age will remember the sound of bands such as Craaft and Bonfire that married classic 80s Hard Rock sounds to AOR keyboards and melodies and that’s exactly the sound that Bad Sister have on this album.
The guitars are crisp and chunky and provide a solid bedrock for the powerfully melodic tracks that constitute Where Will You Go.
Vocalist Andrea Lohndorf has a very powerful voice that is tailor-made for this kind of thing and she stamps her very considerable authority on the album from the word go with a compelling and authoritative performance.
She is very ably backed up by the rest of the band, bassist Jorn Saul, drummer kai-Ove Kessler, guitarist Sven Lange and keyboard player Andreas Lau. Lange’s guitars are wonderfully powerful, with crunchy riffs and power chords and solos that hit the spot without being too much of a showboat, while Lau’s keys provide that delightful sugary-sweet fluffiness that all the best AOR needs.
Kicking off in mightily powerful style with the quite majestic ‘Here I Go Again’, Bad Sister take no prisoners on a thunderous opening anthem which is followed up by the equally colossal ‘Feels Like Love’ which fairly rips out of the speakers on a tsunami of power chords arpeggiated 80s keys and multi-layered vocals.
‘Bright Lights’ follows in similarly fine fashion, with a slightly different vibe that includes some slightly funky bass and guitar before the uptempo Melodic Hard Rock/AOR majesty of ‘Don’t Need Me’, ‘You’re Gone’ and ‘Couldn’t Do Right’ scythe out of the speakers like out of control juggernauts.
The band really have got the balance of power and melody right on these tracks and the guitar/keyboard combination is pretty much perfect. The arrangements are great too – on several of the tracks on the album, the band pull a cool key change out of nowhere to add to the impact of the tracks and this is particularly evident on ‘You’re Gone’.
Bad Sister keep the quality control high as they blaze their way through ‘Confess You Love Me’ with more powerfully melodic vocals and the usual delightful combination of guitar and keyboards before they opt to slow things down with the ballad ‘Could It Be Love’. Coming where it does at track 8 out of 12, it is pretty much perfectly placed within the running order and is a nice track with a classic 80s AOR chord sequence in the chorus (you’ll know the one when you hear it!).
After the slower ballad, Bad Sister clearly feel the need to flex their rock muscles again and consequently ‘Fair Enough’ kicks in on huge guitar riffery with stabbing 80s style keys. This kinda reminds me of classic female acts like Headpins and Chrissie Steele from back in the day, and that is no bad thing I can assure you! It’s a standout track for sure.
‘She Doesn’t Love You’ has a quite filthy guitar sound on the intro accompanied by some rather cool honky-tonk piano before morphing into another huge piece of Melodic Hard Rock/AOR with some classic Rock n Roll flavour before Bad Sister slow it down again for us with the track ‘Moon Woman’, finally finishing on a high with the uptempo rockers ‘Some Hallelujahs’ and ‘Got Caught’ which return us to the sounds we’ve come to expect on the rest of the album.
Overall, Where Will You Go is a stonkingly good piece of Melodic Hard Rock/AOR. Fans of classic European Hard Rock and AOR will find a lot to enjoy here and anyone who loves female fronted acts should definitely give it a look.
If this type of thing floats your boat, do yourself a favour when the album is released on 25.11.22 and buy/stream a copy. You’ll be very glad you did!
Line-up: Lead Vocals – Andrea Löhndorf, Guitars – Sven Lange, Keyboards – Andreas Läu, Bass – Jörn Saul, Drums – Kai-Ove Kessler