Fireworks

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Le Roux - 'Up' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/2e/db/f7/2014_LeRouxUp_1331420291.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     March 10, 2012    
 
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An album that every fan of Pomp / AOR needs to own.

Rock Candy has had criticism in some circles for re-mastering titles that are already available in CD form. Despite the fact that they do them incredibly well and str mainly the best version available, some are understandably reluctant to shell out again for an album they already have a serviceable copy of. Occasionally, the hike in quality is so vast that it's like hearing the record for the first time (the previous version was done from a vinyl copy), and when the album is a bona fide classic - like the one you're currently reading about - then you really have no excuse not to.

Way back in 1980, six-piece band Louisiana's Le Roux were at a crossroads after their second album of lightweight country/southern rock had failed to match the success of their first. With AOR/Pomp Rock riding high in the US charts they opted to turn up the guitars, write some catchy tunes, shorten their name and give the album a snappy, optimistic title. They proved to be so adept at their new direction that multi-platinum success had to be just around the corner, right? Well, sales figures would suggest that they made a wrong move, although artistically 'Up' was a killer from start to finish.

Le Roux's most phenomenal feature was Jeff Pollard, whose gritty vocals gave the songs a manly quality that was most unlike the high tenors that were de rigueur at the time, and whose guitar playing was both melodic and fiery. Rod Roddy's great keyboard work was the perfect foil to Pollard and Tony Haselden's guitar prowess, whilst the expressive rhythm section of drummer David Peters and bassist/band leader Leon Medica were augmented by percussionist Bobby Campo to make things even more interesting.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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Produced by Jai Winding, song-wise they have greatness throughout the whole nine tracks, from the scintillating Axe-like opener 'Let Me Be Your Fantasy', the majestic pomp of 'Get It Right The First Time' and the hard rocking 'I Know Trouble When I See It', to the dynamic 'Mystery' and the infectious 'It Must Be The Fever'. Emotion reaches new heights on extended power ballads 'Roll Away The Stone' and 'I Won't Be Staying', both of which have superb guitar breaks and dramatic keys, whilst the poppier 'Waiting For Your Love' is the hit single that never was.

What's remarkable is that in the sleeve notes, Medica - who has kept the band going right up to the present day - didn't seem to like the album much, which I find amazing. The re-mastering is of the usual high standard and it's an album that every fan of Pomp/AOR needs to own. Listening to 'Up' again makes it even more confusing that the much weaker follow-up, 'Last Safe Place', charted and had a top 30 single, whilst after the departure of Pollard they picked up Fergie Frederiksen for the superb album 'So Fired Up'. Over the years they've veered back to the lighter style of their early albums and even had Terry Brock singing for them for a while. AOR fans tend to be split between 'Up' and 'So Fired Up' as their best album, so all I can say is if you like Journey-ish AOR then SFU is probably for you, 'Up' was a little braver and more unique.

Phil Ashcroft

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