Issa: Crossfire review

Melodic rock chanteuse simply known as Issa is a 26 year old from Oslo who got her start in music at the tender age of 17. She has been at it non-stop since bursting onto the scene with her breakout debut Sign of Angels in 2010, pretty much releasing an album every year, playing as many shows as possible in support and creating quite a bit of industry buzz along the way. The melodic rock goddess is set to unveil her fourth studio album for Frontiers Records called Crossfire. It picks up right where 2011’s The Storm and 2012’s Can’t Stop left off and was produced by John Greatwood & James Martin. Martin and his brother Tom are the writing team behind some of the biggest Pop hits of the last two decades and Crossfire boasts some of their best material to date. The album also features guest appearances by Alessandro Del Vecchio, Steve Newman, Robert Sall and Daniel Johansson. If you are not yet familiar with this drop dead gorgeous siren, imagine the best Hard Rock elements of Heart and Halestorm crossed with the Pop sensibilities of Katy Perry. Issa’s soaring transcendental vocals in lead single and video “Crossfire” make it easy to see why it was not only chosen to lead the charge, but as the name of the album and there is a Pet shop Boys vibe to the keyboards in “New Horizon” that give it that old school 80’s feel. Speaking of the 80’s, the lush, layered vocals in the verses of “Electric Lights” has subtle hints of 80’s era Fleetwood Mac and it’s synth solo was ripped right out of 80’s pop culture. While at the same time, “Fight Fire with Rain,” “Ghost inside My Heart” and “We Rise” are all vital & vibrant pieces of audio Prozac to calm the savage beast in your musical mind. Elsewhere, the simple yet effective atmospheric melodies in Issa’s hauntingly beautiful duet with Steve Overland on the power ballad “Raintown” is one of the album’s true gems. Meanwhile, Issa’s spine tingling vocal delivery on “Long Time Coming,” “Heartbeat” and “Red Lights” thrust her vocals front and center, right where they belong. Here’s the bottom line- Crossfire is a surreal musical experience that is thoroughly entertaining and begs repeat listens. Rating: 8.5/10 -Eric Hunker