The first time I heard the Northern Pikes was at a backyard barbecue in the early 90s. There was plenty of cold beer and loud rock on the stereo. The Pikes had a couple of hit songs at the time.  Fast forward to the summer of 2019 and the band has just released its first album in 16 years. Forest of Love is vintage Northern Pikes. There’s a classic rock feel to the album. It’s a mix of solid guitar-driven rockers and a couple of acoustic ballads. I like the production—the vocals and harmonies are both great  and there is good separation on the instruments. Best cuts include “Draw From the Deck,” a tight, psychedelic rocker with a great bass line, and the touching acoustic ballad “Don’t You Give Up.” If you were a fan of the Pikes’ music 30 years ago, you won’t be disappointed if you hear some tunes from Forest of Love at a backyard barbecue this summer.    

-Gerald Graham

4 out of 5