December 17, 2020

Back From Behind The Sun is the new release from British rock band Iconic Eye. They arrived on the scene in 2015 with their self-released debut album Hidden in Plain Sight, and quickly progressed to festivals circuit that year and the following. A new female lead singer led to further expansion of their style and a second album, Into the Light was released in 2017. the next two years saw tours across Europe, including dates across the UK, another appearance at Hard Rock Hell AOR, Planet Rock’s “Rockstock” and a Scandinavian tour with Magnum.

2020 has enabled the band to refocus on writing new material, and recruiting a new lead singer, Janey Smith (previously known as Janey Bombshell). Janey was announced to the band’s fans and the rock press in September with a new single, a re-mix of the band’s first ever single Now That I’ve Found Love.  

This new five-track EP Back From Behind The Sun was recorded at M2 Studios in Coven, West Midlands and includes a cover of Jefferson Starship’s Jane, plus four original songs co-written mainly by guitarist Greg Dean and Janey. Greg Dean plays rhythm guitar, twin leads, keyboards and singing backing vocals on all the tracks. For the first time, lead guitarist Neil Hackett has contributed to the song writing duties, writing the music for one of the original songs Have My Day. Mike Dagnall, formally of Dante Fox and Max Bacon & Vega, brings bass and backing vocals to the mix. Jon Cooksey, formally of Dante Fox, and drummer on two of Magnum’s Bob Catley’s solo albums, completes the line-up.

Photo: Rob Billingham

First up is the title song, a bit of an anthem this, which the band freely admit they wanted as a big, positive, curtain-raiser for them moving forward. Janey Smith certainly gives the band a presence and vocal projection that is as strong as anything they’ve ever done, there’s hints of Heart and Pat Benatar in here.

Jane is the iconic (hah!) Starship track from the 80’s and it takes a brave band to cover it, but given that they’ve regularly performed this live and the blistering guitar work from Neil, it’s a worthy and appropriate addition to this set. It fits well with their tuneful melodic rock approach, and also fits well with Janey’s vocal strengths. In fact, it makes you hark back and dream of Grace Slick having a go at the original…

Ghost Town is another song tinged with a mix of Heart and Benatar, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that! Especially when the style suits all of them so well, with the added bonus of another wonderful guitar solo again from Neil. Lyrically, the song is about the impact of Covid on the vitality of towns and villages under Lockdown.

Having just listened to Ghost Town, it’s weird how the next track Have My Day starts with a wonderfully fluid guitar intro eerily reminiscent of Ghost, from Slash’s first “solo” album – and that goes to show just what a very fine guitarist Neil Hackett is! Neil wrote the music as well, with Janey writing the lyrics. It’s an energetic chunk of classic melodic rock, upbeat and empowering, but that combination of powerful vocals and stellar guitar licks is absolutely awesome – the strongest track on the EP.

Final track Femme Fatale is another perfect vehicle for Janey’s soaringly strong vocals. She’s smashed this, it’s pure Pat Benatar at her best, or Heart in their harder moments – so well done Janey for standing proud at that very highest level of company! This song underlines the qualities and strengths that Janey has brought to the band, but don’t forget the real powerhouse rhythm work from Greg, Mike and Jon topped with yet more swooping guitar licks, and you have all the ingredients for global domination in the AOR stakes!

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To sum up, on this EP Iconic Eye have melded the best of 80’s transatlantic rock with a clean, edgy sound-mix that is thoroughly contemporary – in much the same way as Son Of Man have done, but with the added attribute of Janey’s fantastically strong voice. She’s proved to be a perfect foil for the rest of the band, and this EP should give them a sound springboard for great things over the next few years! “Back From Behind The Sun” is a very apt description of their musical progress!

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