“So many of us feel like outsiders,” says the spoken word bit in “Against The Grain,” a track about halfway through this, until we find our tribe. It’s no exaggeration to say that I found mine in the music of the 80s. Bon Jovi and “Slippery When Wet” led me to all sorts, and it led me to Danger Danger.

My connection with Danger Danger led my mother to march into Virgin Records in Birmingham and boldly ask for a copy of ‘Screw It,’ possibly the only time she uttered anything risqué. It’s a memory that resurfaced while on the way to a recent gig with my oldest mate, reminiscing about that record. All these connections put me in the perfect place to appreciate The Defiants’ latest offering.

I should mention that this band is partly comprised of Bruno Ravel on bass, Paul Laine on vocals and guitar, and Rob Marcello on guitar, three former or current members of Danger Danger. And this is no mere side project. This is their third record and sees The Defiants continue their musical journey without reinventing any wheels. ‘Drive’ is not a trip hop or thrash record; rather, it’s exactly what it should be.

‘Hey Life’ kicks off the album in anthemic fashion, with Paul Laine belting out the line ‘Here comes a wrecking ball’ that resonates powerfully. ‘Go Big or Go Home’ lives up to its name, delivering exactly what you expect while still being absolutely exceptional. If they could get into arenas, then this song shakes them.

’19 Summertime’ embodies the timeless essence of AOR, even though it may not align with my personal experiences at 19, but whatever, I still had music. The track ‘What Are We Waiting For’ carries the torch of Bon Jovi’s sound, 30 years on, with remarkable fidelity. And better than JBJ, mind you.

‘Miracle’ stands proud as a power ballad, while ‘So Good’ exudes a sassy and captivating energy. ‘Love Doesn’t Live Here Anymore’ channels a Def Leppard vibe, adding a familiar touch to the album’s atmosphere. ‘Another Time, Another Place’ introduces synth elements and narrates a love story that may resonate with some listeners, although not with me (ahem!) about never forgetting the one that got away.

‘Night To Remember’ continues the album’s excellence with more of the same quality AOR goodness, and ‘Nothing’s Gonna Stop Me Now’ reaffirms the band’s unwavering spirit.

Noticeably less sex-obsessed than D2 (they probably still get up to “Monkey Business,” and if they do, good luck to them, me? I review records at 1 am… but this is 2023 and lyrics have changed). “Drive” is classy and well done, better, probably, than any record of its type should be this year.

Rating: 9/10

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