Monday, August 6, 2018
AMERICAN TEARS: Hard Core
Label: Escape 2018
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom
Mark Mangold (Touch, Drive She Said) - one of the good guys of AOR. He's been out there on the frontline and at the very final frontier for the last +40 years. Fighting dragons, ogres, goblins, pestilence, plague, windmills, grunge, and what not really. Clearly mad about his precious keyboards and keeping the ebony/ivory glowing like radioactive cats in the dark. American Tears was Mangold's first real band and the keyboard driven trio released its first record, "Branded Bad", on Columbia Records in 1974. They broke-up already back in 1978 and the band evolved into the critically acclaimed band Touch. 40 years on and American Tears is sort of back on track, however, in reality, it's merely Mangold and a bunch of dusty old music instruments from the seventies.
That's correcto mundo. Mangold sings, tickle the bones, as well as get groovin' on bass and drums. The other band members are nowhere to be seen or heard. It's the whole she-bang including Hammond organ, synths, mellotron, clavinet, electronic melodica and playing progressive music which shows its early 70's agenda. Eclectic in their approach, the music range from agressive keyboard based extravaganzas to sleepy/dopey melodies of the past. I've always enjoyed the work of Mangold with the exception of American Tears. Frankly... many of their compostitions bore me to tears and nothing on "Hard Core" could convince me otherwise.
It's not a question of music style or simply just too dated. But it's sadly not enough "Van Der Graaf Generator", and too much "Moody Blues" on the record (and they only recorded one great song and you all know which one). It's all about the song material - not up to his usual melodic rock standard.