Saturday, August 4, 2012

LOVERBOY: "Rock N Roll Revival"

Rating: N/A
Label: Frontiers 2012
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom

This is a compilation release featuring nine re-recorded oldies and three new songs. To make a long story short, originally formed as an Canadian sort of super-group. Loverboy feature several bands members that are veterans of the seventies rock scene in acts such as Streetheart and Moxy. Their 1980 debut album charted not only in their homeland but also in the USA and they had great success in the singles charts throughout most of the eighties.

They've sold more than 10 million albums and most if not all of them on the other side of the pond as most Europeans had not heard of the band until a certain 'Top Gun' picture movie and "Heaven In Your Eyes". By the way, did Lionel Ritchie ever object to the song considering its similar (keyboard) structure to his mega hit "Say You Say Me". Anyhow, most Euro-folks probably still think of them in the same sentence as Berlin (Take My Breath Away) and the "Top Gun one-hit wonder kind of act". We all know better though, yeah, no, maybe, perhaps?

They've been on/off as a band for quite a while and previous comeback albums really hasn't been too much to write home about. Anyhow, they are touring the states with Journey and Pat Benatar and having reunited at Bryan Adams Vancouver studio The Warehouse, with their original engineer, legendary producer Bob Rock [Metallica, Aerosmith, The Cure, Bon Jovi, etc]. The band has recorded three new songs with Rock and it's more or less the original line-up with Mike Reno (Vocals), Paul Dean (Guitars), Doug Johnson (Keyboards), Matt Frenette (Drums), and new old geezer bassist Ken "Spider" Sinnaeve (also ex-Streetheart).

The first three tracks are the new ones with "Rock 'N' Roll Revival" as the opening number. It's a decent enough summer tune with the typical early 80's keyboard sound of the band. Very retro and true to their heydays. Reno may sound a bit strained during the refrain and it's an okay/good start but hardly the perfect revival. "No Tomorrow" is better and more towards their slick period 'ala the Wildside album or Mutt Lange/Def Lep/Bryan Adams rock. Lyrics that goes along the lines of "letting go", "no lookin' back, what's done is done" and "there's no tomorrow in yesterday". The song is all nostalgia and catchy retro rock though. Perhaps there is a tomorrow in yesterday's music for Loverboy after all? "Heartbreaker" follows a similar path and I find myself humming along to the melody. Extra kudos for the singing guitar work by Paul Dean. Overall good enough stuff and it's a shame that we don't get more of them. Then again, most folks wants to hear the oldies and are leaving the gig for a snack/beverage as they hear this message over the PA: "next song is from our brand new album" (sigh!).

What can you say about re-recordings? It's a bit silly and pointless unless you're talkin' about a really old act from the 60's or early 70's. You know, when they had to struggle with a dodgy production and in some cases not even stereo. It's not like if these versions are better or more interesting than the originals (rather the opposite). It will not cause the average Loverboy and rock fan to scream of joy as the boyos dives into a "live" guitar break during "Lovin' Every Minute Of It" or the bass/drum outro of "Hot Girls In Love". They do have truly catchy material though and if anything let's hope this comp will cause more folks to discover the Loverboy band. Geez, worst monicker of the 80's?? Final verdict: Summer fun tunes but music is so deeply rooted to memories and I'm not sure if the old guard will appreciate re-recordings? Tracklist: Turn Me Loose, Working For The Weekend, Lovin' Every Minute of It, The Kid Is Hot Tonight, Lucky Ones, Always On My Mind, Queen Of The Broken Hearts, When It's Over, Hot Girls In Love.

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