Clif Magness has already had success writing for Wilson Phillips, Quincy Jones, Avril Lavigne as well as the more rock Hanson, Steve Perry and Bonamassa collaborations. His previous solo album called, imaginatively, Solo was released in 1994. Since then, he has been hard at work composing and producing since then and now he has a new solo album called Lucky Dog. It’s proved impossible to find out who performed what on this: I am guessing that he did most himself, although his son, Evan, contributed many of the guitar parts and Josh Freese the drums.
Unsurprisingly, this is pure melodic rock with all the trappings: great riffs, soaring vocals and sing-a-long choruses and, of course, ballads. Across the 11 tracks, you get high quality and varied rock, which you cannot help but enjoy. Opener ‘Ain’t No Way’, starts with a helicopter sound and then hits with a Van Halen like riff and the most imaginative guitar solo of the lot.
One of the best tracks is the duet with co-composer Sherrie Adams, it is a really well-crafted slice of melodic rock and ticks all the boxes of tempo, melody and chorus. ‘Love Needs a Heart’ has a quirky feel in the midst of the more standard AOR, but it has a fascinating structure that draws you in. ‘All Over My Mind’ is a classic in waiting of this genre. ‘Nobody But You’ is the pick of the ballads, with the acoustic start, the strings and the clever drum pattern reflecting the melody.
No big surprises then, just an album chock full of strong AOR/Melodic Rock songs that fans of Journey, Toto et al will simply devour.