Big Red Fire Truck – Trouble in Paradise (Self-Released)

Wednesday, 2nd August 2023
Rating: 8.5 / 10

Started in 2016 by vocalist/guitarist Digby to create some melodic hard rock/metal with fun as the focus, Big Red Fire Truck from Australia channel a lot of the huge melodies, hooks, and harmonies of the 80’s scene while incorporating a lot of the charm of the new generation of acts from Europe. This latest EP Trouble in Paradise contains six tracks that embrace a time when people let their hair down, alcohol flowing freely to celebrate the down time away from work as they collectively raised fists (and voices) to the sky.

The four-piece lays down a potent musical foundation, building things out with dual guitar harmony licks or larger than life vocal chorus action while the bass/drum work holds down a serious groove at mid-tempo or slightly faster pacing. You can feel the searing heat melting the aural landscape during “Miami Skies”, the guitar action between Ben Frank and Digby as infectious as the uplifting main vocal melodies while drummer Pete Grant accents the key components with some propulsive, swinging cymbal hits and fills. The title track contains some killer riffs out of the early Van Halen meets Judas Priest mold, while solid dual harmony activities give way to some tender verses for “Hot Summer Nights”, the soothing background vocals sure to encourage audience engagement when this band hits the stage. Beyond the five main songs, you get a synthwave intro for “Neon Sunsets” that will remind most of those Stranger Things/ movie soundtrack days. Digby has a ready for radio voice – sure to emphasize those big chorus moments when he needs to rise to that occasion, reminding this scribe of classic Night Ranger or Eclipse on highlight “Psychotropic Thunder”.

Subscribing to an ‘all killer/no filler’ outing at twenty minutes, Trouble in Paradise should align well with those who love the work of Reckless Love, Kissin’ Dynamite, Sammy Hagar-period Van Halen, as well as the good time spirit of Sum 41. Big Red Fire Truck is impressive to those who love melodic hard rock/metal, especially if you want 80’s-era songwriting translated to a modern audience.

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