CD Review: Tony Harnell & The Mercury Train “Round Trip”

Tony Harnell, best known as the powerhouse vocalist behind hard rock band TNT, is ready to unleash his new solo record called “Round Trip”. With his new band, The Mercury Train, Harnell revisits previous material to offer his fans (and hopefully some new ones) a bold, fresh take on his songs. In concept, it is similar to Bon Jovi’s “This Left Feels Right”, but Harnell makes the effort much more worthwhile.

While stripped down or alternative versions of classic rockers are going to seem sacrilegious to some longtime fans, I feel Harnell has done an amazing job showing us how timeless his songwriting can be. These new renditions are fantastic, bringing even the most dated of his material into the 21st century as if it were written yesterday. His riveting vocals and the brilliantly produced instrumentation are icing on the cake.
Just check out the acoustic-driven sound of “Somebody Told You”, “Intuition”, and “Lonely Nights” – they blew me away. The tender “Northern Lights” is another outstanding highlight that underscores this man’s amazing vocal talent. I also thought his version of the haunting Alanis Morissette track, “Uninvited” was terrific. The bouncy acoustic pop and harmonious “oohs” and “ahhs” make “When I’m Away” another highlight. There are a handful of tracks that are merely interludes, too sleepy (“Ready To Fly”), or just don’t quite work (“Satellite”), but generally “Round Trip” is a great, consistent listen from start to finish.

Fans of great acoustic-driven rock are going to love this, whether you have heard of Harnell or not. In fact, it may be an advantage to go into these songs without the bias of the original tainting your opinion. It is a trip you won’t want to miss.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 10, 12

“Round Trip” will be available on July 27 in the US.

Tony Harnell and the Mercury Train on MySpace. Official site.

Round Trip