Chris Bay is lead singer and guitarist with German metal group Freedom Call. Last year he decided to pursue some of his musical influences outside of the band, exploring some of the diversity of the rock genre which Led to Bay recording the album, 'Chasing The Sun', his first solo record, at his own studio, writing all the songs and performing by himself, except for Freedom Call bandmate Ramy Ali on drums.
'Flying Hearts' opens the album and I have to say this is not at all what I expected (despite being told to expect the unexpected). The opening song is an upbeat, happy, fun affair with great guitar work and reminiscent of hair metal. 'Light My Fire' has a delightful folksy meets 70s rock-pop feel, with jingling keys and a Bowie-style vocal to the chorus which sets the track aflame. There's a sneaky hint of a heavier instrumental in parts which shines a light on what Bay is better known for. 'Move On' is darker with a rumbling intro. The fresh and vibrant keys contrast nicely with a decadently deep vocal, like light with dark. Just after 3 minutes into the song it slows right down to a suspenseful bridge, before the song closes.
This is a refreshing and intriguing album so far, the diversity of which continues with the polished and radio-friendly 'Radio Starlight'. 'Silent Cry' is one of my favourites on the album, though the actual order of my favourite tracks changes with every listen. Bay's vocal is dreamy and sultry in a track which is emotive but not melancholic; "1000 reasons for my pain". 'Hollywood Dancer' is a fun and lighthearted track, which appears to have a Beatles influence, and features a joyously-wanton vocal and some whimsical dramatic elements. The keys are cheerful and the chorus is catchy; "everybody loves me". This album oozes warmth and fun.
'Keep Waiting' has a subtle yet effective pulsing drum beat, a sexy vocal and is vital and infectious, from its 80s synth pop intro to the keys fading out. 'Misty Rain' starts with a classic guitar-led intro, suggesting a more hard-rock style, and glimpses of big harmonies. 'Where The Waters Flow' is another favourite of mine, a haunting instrumental with a mellow-sounding emotional vocal and powerful chorus. This track is stylish, top-drawer AOR, and has more lyrical complexity than some of the other songs on the album. It's a real ear-worm and burrows in deep. The reach of those supernatural keys is bottomless, and the vocal is perfectly suited to the style of the music. This track alone puts the whole album in another league for me.
'Bad Boyz' is yet another favourite, a heavier, sleazy song with growling riffs and snarling vocal. The guitar work is piquant, with a very tasty solo about 2 minutes in, followed by some throbbing drums and bass. The closing track, 'Love Will Never Die' is a ballad with a lovely retro feel of 90s stadium rock. The piano and vocal are the stars of the song, both silky smooth, and the whole track is the best kind of corny; "tonight, spread your wings and fly".
Bay's debut album is thoroughly enjoyable and not at all what you would expect. The heavier rock-style tracks are what I expected the whole album to sound like to be honest but, as much as I love those tracks, I'm glad it isn't just like that and that it's much more varied and contrasting. I feel I've been on a journey and I've really enjoyed the trip. I just needed to drop those preconceptions and give it a try; I was unaware of the true range of Bay's musical interests. Well worth investing your hard-earned cash in.
Genre: Melodic rock, AOR
Light My Fire
Where Waters Flow In Heaven
Love Will Never Lie