Fireworks

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Steve Hughes - 'Once We Were (Part One)' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/0b/14/21/steve-hughes-once-we-were-part-one-49-1520887714.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     March 12, 2018    
 
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Examines the relationship and tragedy of star-crossed lovers as they move through different timelines.

As I listened to this album, there was a nagging feeling that it reminded me of something but I couldn't place it, which was odd because when it finally dawned on me it was so obvious; Frost*. It shares many of both Jem Godfrey's synthesiser traits and song-writing styles, consequently it can be a little challenging at times.

Hughes was formerly the drummer with both Big Big Train and The Enid but here he takes on multiple roles including lead singer; on his debut album ('Tales From The Silent Ocean') he used Sean Filkins, but now has greater confidence in his own abilities. He's joined by guest musicians including guitarists JC Strand, Keith Winter and Dec Burke.
According to Hughes, the album examines the relationship and tragedy of star-crossed lovers as they move through different timelines and how their lives are impacted by decisions from politicians and romantic circumstance.

The album opens with the multi-faceted and epic 'The Summer Soldier' (not a cover of the Barclay James Harvest track) which clocks in at thirty-three minutes. It would be fair to say that this is an eclectic piece with many a wide variety of different styles being thrown into the mix, some of which I admit leave me a little perplexed, particularly when it gets rather discordant. The theme may be war related but at times it does come across as a sonic bombardment.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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After that, the relatively short material that follows comes as something of a relief, not least because Hughes' vocal range is more suitable for the mellower soundscape that they offer. 'For Jay' is a decent Pop-orientated number with a very personal background, it being about the son of a former girlfriend of Hughes and the ending of the relationship with both of them. Equally autobiographical is 'Kettering Road' which is imbued with a fine melody and is all the better for its stripped back approach. It's a song of two halves as a darker lyrical message comes through reflecting Hughes' battle with the bottle, thankfully a fight he's won.

'Was I Wrong?' features some interesting drum patterns and a cascading piano refrain, Burke providing a fine guitar solo. Again, it brings Frost* to mind particularly during the more florid passages. The closing numbers are more restrained and for me work better as a consequence, the female vocals adding depth.

Gary Marshall

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