BIO: Who springs to mind when you think of catchy melodic rock songs, strong female vocals and a modern up-to-date sound? No one? Didn't think so. Well, Challenge is stepping into that void. With their critically acclaimed album Acoustic Universe, Challenge has received worldwide recognition. The record has been widely praised for it's sincere and straightforward back-to-basics sound while still maintaining a firmly planted modern presence. Ready to take it to the next level? You bet. 'We had a blast recording the stripped down tunes for Acoustic Universe and playing a lot of acoustic coffee house gigs,' says vocalist Allison Lindsay. 'Then after a while, we were itching to plug our guitars into a big Marshall stack and crank it up.' The result, Spirit, is a melodic rock album with a heavier sound and yet the same emphasis on melody. 'On Spirit, we continue to create a straightforward organic feel by staying away from countless overdubs,' comments guitarist Arno Verstappen. 'Our attitude is to write strong songs, capture an honest performance and leave it alone.' Combining the influences of an L.A. native vocalist and a Dutch guitarist makes for a unique musical blend from two continents. Their signature style is rooted in traditional melodies with a clearly current sound. The two core members are supported by some of the best players in the business; whose credits include touring and recording with Jackson Browne, Steve Vai, Alice Cooper and Sheryl Crow, just to name a few. The 10 songs on Spirit take a look at life around us. Covering many issues from crime ('Dark Night') and having a realistic outlook ('Spirit') to defying conformity ('It's My Life'); as well as passionate love songs. 'The music really moved us to dig a little deeper lyrically, rather than settling for the standard rock cliches,' explains Arno. 'Overall, the record has a feel of completeness.' While the band is certainly not turning a blind eye to the ever-changing musical climate, they feel no need to jump on every trend either. 'People will always have a craving for melody, no matter what the flavor of the month,' insists Allison. 'All we have to do is play what comes natural.'