Published on October 23rd, 2016 | by Justin G.
Austrian melodic rock band Cornerstone returned after a five year absence with a new studio album, titled Reflections. The band wasn’t exactly sitting idle these past five years; they have played regularly and released a charity single that charted in their home country. Still, there’s nothing quite like a new studio album to remind fans why they love a band in the first place, so it’s good to see a proper follow-up to 2011’s excellent Somewhere in America.
“Melodic rock” is a fairly generic term, and only loosely captures Cornerstone’s unique sound. The band obviously draws influence from the classic melodic rock sound, but you get the sense that they’d be just as comfortable on college radio or in coffeehouses breaking out Pretenders covers. John Waite meets 10,000 Maniacs perhaps? It’s a strange mix, but it works.
Reflections is the third Cornerstone album, and like the previous release there is once again a new singer, with Alina Peter replacing Patricia Hillinger. Peter has a clear, evocative vocal style that’s not quite as soulful as Hillinger’s, but she proves to be a great fit for a band that emphasizes earnest, emotional songs like Cornerstone does. She can belt out a more upbeat rocker like album opener “Nothing to Lose” a laid back tear-jerker like “Once,” or something in-between like the lush “Last Night” and sound completely authentic at them all. It helps that the guitar work on Reflections is so smooth. And that the songs are so well crafted. And that the production job (by none other than Harem Scarem’s Harry Hess) is top notch.
As with the previous two Cornerstone releases, Reflections is not your average melodic rock album. If you’re looking for big hooks and anthemic rockers, you won’t find them here. This is a more subtle and polished melodic rock album; the kind you could play for friends whose tastes don’t go much deeper than Adele and Coldplay. Or if you’re looking to chill with your significant other, but your significant other isn’t into the average Frontiers bands. It has that kind of crossover appeal.
If you enjoyed the previous Cornerstone albums, Reflections will not disappoint. And if you’re new to the band, but have an appreciation for melodic rock and an open mind, Cornerstone should prove a very pleasant surprise.
Summary: Melodic rock for grown-ups