Astonishingly, the German band Black Sand’s “Heart Rock Café”, is their twelfth studio album. I say astonishingly, because their début record, “Forget To Work” was released thirty years ago back in 1984 and yet, despite their longevity in the music business, I’d never heard of them before. Sadly, listening to the album, I can perhaps understand why, despite their thirty years in the business, they haven’t become widely known names beyond a small fan base. This is very tame soft rock, with plenty of ballads included. The best that can be said about the songwriting is that, melodically and structurally, it is proficient. The guitar performances, both acoustic and electric, are the strongest part of the sound, but the vocals, however, are clumsy and a little cringe-inducing, lyrically. It all feels a little too dated and quite honestly, I found it very hard work to get through the entire album, let alone forcing myself to play it again in order to give it a fair enough hearing.
Here, at SonicAbuse, we take absolutely no pleasure in negative reviews and ripping apart pieces of work that musicians have spent a huge amount of time working on. Given that ethos, it’s very difficult indeed to say anything further about “Heart Rock Café”, so I will bring this piece of writing to a conclusion. To surmise, I can’t imagine who would really like this album, even those who really like the seventies/eighties soft rock genre, because had this album been released back then, I strongly doubt that it would have been commercially successful at that point in history either. It’s all very competent, but extremely difficult to be any more positive about it. I’m quite curious to hear what the rest of their material sounds like, so that I can understand how they have managed to get to the point of releasing their twelfth studio album, but on the strength of this one, it’s a curiosity I doubt that I will ever indulge.
Black Sand’s 12th studio album, “Heart Rock Café” is self-released and available now from their website: http://www.blacksand.at/
Andy Sweeney, 17th July 2014.