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Loverboy - 'Rock 'n' Roll Revival' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/35/4a/53/2643_loverboyrocknrollrevival_1345551842.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     August 21, 2012    
 
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New album from Vancouver's finest.

Having been a Loverboy fan since 1980 when I first heard that ex-Streetheart guitarist Paul Dean and drummer Matt Frenette had formed a band with Moxy vocalist Michael Rynoski, it’s been sad that their post-Columbia Records career has seen them release just two studio albums in quarter of a century. The disappointing ‘Six’ came out back in 1997 (a decade after the lively ‘Wildside’) and the better-received ‘Just Getting Started’ was another decade later, and whilst the latter had some great songs and was lauded as a return to form, with little or no songwriting input from the rest of the band it seemed more like a Mike Reno solo album to me. I was very pleased when I saw ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Revival’ on Frontiers’ release schedule, but much less so when I learned it was just three new songs and a bunch of re-recorded hits, although it was encouraging that they were working with celebrated producer Bob Rock again, the man who engineered most of their classic albums under legendary producer Bruce Fairbairn.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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Of the three new songs, the title-track is the most true to their original style, with a bouncy rock’n’roll feel and Doug Johnson’s distinctive keyboard tones, but to be honest I feel it’s the weakest of the three. ‘Heartbreaker’ is a much better rocker with Reno’s tongue-in-cheek lyrics and the familiar guitar/keyboard flourishes, whilst ‘No Tomorrow’ sounds more like a ‘Just Getting Started’ ballad with a good melody and some nicely written ‘break-up’ lyrics. The premise of the re-recorded hits is to play the versions that have evolved in their live shows, although I’m sure we all know it’s probably the familiar story of being able to peddle them to radio, TV and film without paying money to the company that owns the originals. They’ve picked their most popular songs and it’s actually a very fine body of work, from the best known like ‘Turn Me Loose’, ‘When It’s Over’, ‘Working For The Weekend’ & ‘Lovin’ Every Minute Of It’, to less successful singles ‘The Kid Is Hot Tonight’ and ‘Queen Of The Broken Hearts’, and even the non-singles ‘Lucky Ones’ and ‘Always On My Mind’. All are fairly faithful to the originals, albeit a bit rougher, and Doug Johnson’s keyboard sounds are refreshingly familiar, so basically a casual fan would only hear the impressive vocals and melodies and not notice the small changes in the instrumentation.

Possibly the strangest thing on this album is the eight minute version of ‘Hot Girls In Love’, which after the main song fizzles out, turns into the three and half minute bass and drum part that they’ve been doing live since the great Ken ‘Spider’ Sinnaeve (also ex-Streetheart) joined the band in 2001. I guess the good news is that they haven’t tampered with the other classics too much and the only real difference is the grittier sound (not better, just grittier!) Again there will be others who bemoan the great songs left out – don’t even start me on the list – and rather surprisingly the total reliance on the first four albums with nothing from ‘Wildside’. With the band currently jumping headlong into the lucrative multi-band tours of the US alongside the usual AOR elite, it may be quite a while before we see a whole new album from Vancouver’s finest, so for now this will have to suffice.

Phil Ashcroft

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