The curiously titled “YmmiJ” is the new album from Brazilian Melodic Hard Rockers STILL LIVING to be released tomorrow December 8. It marks a new step for the band as with this third effort STILL LIVING have created some kind of a concept, however all songs work on their own wrapped with infectious hooks that will appeal to any lover of classic / 80s influenced melodic hard rock.
While most of the songs in “YmmiJ” are linked by a story about modern age tribulations of a guy called Jimmy (hence the album’s title, his name backwards “YmmiJ”), you can easily enjoy all songs separately.
And what really matters with STILL LIVING is their music, melodic hooky rockers very well rounded.
‘Reign of Pills’ opens the album in great form somehow reminding me of MISS BEHAVIOUR formula of sweet guitar riffs, nice keyboards, melodic verses and a catchy chorus. Renato Costa owns a proper tenor rocking voice for this kind of rock – a bit accented but it provides an exotic charm, while the rest of the guys are solid musicians.
Harder, second cut ‘On the Edge’ is driven by sharp guitars, even increased on the bouncy rocker ‘Call of the Night’, but next ‘Dusty Blue Shadow’ returns to a familiar Melodic Rock territory.
‘The Man I’ve Become’ is one of my favorites, with a clear American Melodic Rock influx in the JOURNEY vein complete with lovely keyboards and an anthemic feel. ‘King of Nothing’ provides a groovy rocking rhythm and darker lyrics, followed by the quite solid ballad ‘Haunted’ with fine clean guitar creating atmosphere.
The midtempo AORish ‘Peace or Pieces?’ musically brings to my mind Kevin Chalfant’s TWO FIRES, ‘I.M. Jimmy’ rocks with an European touch (compared with Italians WHEELS OF FIRE), and ‘Mr. Mirror’ is another good ballad, this time with piano as main instrument.
Reaching the end, ‘Cult of the Rough Awakening’ is more like a hard rocker, then ‘In the Dark’ is the final short spoken interlude (there’s 4 in the tracklist) before closing with the very melodic instrumental ‘As Shallow as It Gets’.
It’s great to hear bands like STILL LIVING keeping the Melodic Rock / AOR flame alive at every corner of the planet.
“YmmiJ” is solid, entertaining record mixing hooks & melodies with a concept story – follow it or not, in any way you will enjoy it.
01 – Reign of Pills
02 – On the Edge
03 – Call of the Night
04 – Dusty Blue Shadow
05 – Listen to Me!
06 – The Man I’ve Become
07 – King of Nothing
08 – Haunted
09 – Peace or Pieces?
10 – Who Are You?
11 – Mr. Mirror
12 – I.M. Jimmy
13 – Jane
14 – Cult of the Rough Awakening
15 – In the Dark / As Shallow as It Gets
Renato Costa – Vocals
Eduardo Holanda – Guitars
Wagner Souza – Bass
Thiago Nascimento – Keyboards
Cleber Melo – Drums