Fireworks

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Added by Central Electronic Brain     August 29, 2011    
 
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This lost treasure is a worthy addition to your collection.

Andrew MacNeice's Melodic Rock website (apart from Firework's Rocktopia site of course) is the best place to go to find out what's going on in the world of melodic rock. So, when his Melodic Rock Records label releases a CD, you can be sure that you need to sit up and take notice. Taxxi, although British, were one of the most American sounding AOR bands back in the 80s. They released four albums and later a compilation. They secured live dates with the likes of Foreigner, Triumph and Loverboy; all a good fit for their state of the art AOR. There was enough raunch in David Cummings' vocals and guitar playing to ensure they were never mistaken as just a pop act. The eleven tracks here are demos, dating back to '87 and '88 that they recorded after the departure of their keyboard player Colin Payne, who is sadly no longer with us. These tracks would have been intended for their fifth album but it wasn't meant to be until now. The demos have been airbrushed thanks to modern technology, and we owe a debt to MacNiece for helping to get this prime AOR aired.

Although Payne had left the band, Cumming, as well as singing and playing guitar, took over synthesiser duties. While the keyboard sound was modern and up to date at the time, it now dates the material. There is no doubt this was created in the 80s. At times across the disc, there are elements of the hi-tech AOR of John Parr, David Halliday, Corey Hart and Workforce. In general, it has a more commercial feel than their earlier work. The record has been well sequenced, kicking off with the strongest track 'Writing On the Wall'. It showcases Cummings' great rock voice and it has a strident riff that drives the song. The big ballad 'I Want You Back' has a Starship feel; you could imagine Grace Slick and Mickey Thomas covering this one. It's totally designed to be played over the closing credits of an 80s rom com.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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There is a clutch of soft rockers that really grow on repeated listens. The pop rock of 'Cupids Arrow' has a host of session musicians on it, including Earl Slick on guitar which gives you the feeling that this one was being pencilled in as a potential single. 'Restless Heart' has a Jimmy Barnes vibe, albeit slightly poppier while 'Never Lived A Dream' benefits from some good guitar, and the bouncy, rockier 'Hotshot', with its big brash keyboard splurges recalls Airrace.

Several of the tracks have the cheery demeanour of a more innocent time. The (almost annoyingly) catchy 'Last Of The Red Hot Lovers' and the chant-along 'One Man One Voice' sound a tad naïve in this more cynical era and 'Lust For Gold' has a synthetic production sound, a horn arrangement and a lyrical pre-occupation with material wealth that makes this song more 80s than an episode of Dynasty.

Overall though, for lovers of 80s AOR, the good outweighs the cheese and this lost treasure is a worthy addition to your collection.

Duncan Jamieson

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