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Full Throttle Rock

Album Review: Winger - Better Days Comin'

Posted on April 7, 2014 at 10:40 PM

Winger – Better Days Comin’

Written by The Rock Man


I think Winger is one of the most underrated hard rock groups in music history. For decades I have been trying to wrap my head around it and I can’t. This is a very talented band that have released some of the best albums I’ve heard over the past 26 years, yet they have been the butt of jokes on TV shows such as Beavis And Butt-Head and King Of The Hill, and still I wonder, why?

Between 1988 and 1993 the band released three albums, Winger, In The Heart Of The Young and Pull, each as different from the other before calling it a day. The band would reunite and release new material in 2006 with IV and Karma in 2009. Which brings us to 2014, some five years later and the release of their new album Better Days Comin’.

The album kicks off with Midnight Driver Of A Love Machine. The track starts off with the sound effect of a car door closing, an engine starting and the faint sounds of Winger on the stereo before driving away, which made me think, I’ve heard this kind of thing before, what was it? … Oh that’s right, Kiss did it on Detroit Rock City. It worked well then and does still today. The guitars and vocals kick in and we begin what is a most satisfying track, lots of melodics going on here. Queen Babylon follows next, this is the type of stuff I think Winger does best, again lots of melody especially in the chorus and the guitar is quite meaty as well with this very slight Middle Eastern sound flowing through it.

The first single from the album is Rat Race which is quite pacey, some great guitar work here from Reb Beach while bassist/vocalist Kip Winger declares “Spinning my wheels in this rat race/shifting gears they go round and round/you know how it feels at this fast pace/run for your life you can never slow down”. The track is commentary on this ever changing fast modern world we live in. The title track Better Days Comin’ is full to the brim of swagger, I haven’t heard anything like this from the band before, it’s a very cool track that just forces you to be happy. Something that the band was known for early on in their career was their infusion of progressive elements in their music, to me this has been missing over previous releases but Tin Soldier is the first of several track to embrace their past. There are some very cool drumming moments from Rod Morgenstein on this track.

I have always loved their ballads and Ever Wonder is another fine addition to their catalogue. The keyboards on this track are simply beautiful and combined with Kip Wingers vocals are just magical. So Long China is a solid rocker, dealing with lost love, the guitars on the verses are very chunky and driving then they pour on the melody during the chorus. Storm In Me took me back to the days of the In The Heart Of The Young album, while Be Who You Are and Out Of This World embrace more of those progressive elements I spoke of. The guitar soloing on Out Of This World is nothing short of outstanding.

I have no doubt that this new record will be received strongly by the bands loyal fan base. As for the rest of the world, I guess we will have to wait and see although I often wonder, if it was the exact same music but with a Dream Theatre label on it, would it suddenly be treated with validation and respect?


Categories: Album Reviews

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