CD Reviews

Saraya - 'Saraya' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     September 11, 2010    
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Re-issue of Saraya's classic debut album.

My colleagues here at Fireworks magazine always manage to pull off a surprise or two when announcing the Firefest line-up each year, and surely the biggest this year has to be the inclusion of Saraya, who are due to return after an eighteen year hiatus. It was almost inevitable that a re-issue of their classic debut album would soon appear, but to be honest it’s long overdue, as the originals fetch a hefty price on Ebay. Unlike today’s scene, there weren’t really too many females in rock music at the tail-end of the eighties. The likes of Vixen, Lita Ford and Femme Fatale garnered attention in going for the sexual, visual approach, but Saraya were more content to let the music do the talking, and were all the better for it. Obviously Sandi was always going to be the focal point, but it was just a little more subtle and sophisticated, with the voice more important than the looks.
Formed in 1987 by Sandi and keyboardist Gregg Munier (who passed away in 2006), and originally known as Alsace Lorraine (the title of a short instrumental on the album), the line-up expanded to include guitarist Tony Rey (the original axeman in Danger Danger), bassist Gary Taylor and drummer Chuck Bonfante. The music created was classy hard rock rather than the poppy AOR that Vixen and Heart were offering at the time. Even to this day, the swaggering opener ‘Love Has Taken It’s Toll’ still puts a smile on my face whenever I hear it, the bluesy acoustic opening giving way to a huge riff from Rey, the driving rhythm propelling the song along, and topped with Sandi’s husky vocal delivery. And there isn’t a bad track on the album, from the commercial ‘Healing Touch’ and ‘Back To The Bullet’ through the hard rock of ‘One Night Away’ and the pulsating ‘Runnin’ Out Of Time’ to the moody ‘Gypsy Child’ and ‘St. Christopher’s Medal.’
As for bonus tracks, two songs from the slightly heavier sophomore release ‘When The Blackbird Sings’ are included, namely ‘Seducer’ and ‘In The Shade Of The Sun’, and the bonus track that originally appeared on the ‘Seducer’ single, the fiery ‘Chainsmokin.’ Also present is the power ballad ‘Timeless Love’ which originally appeared on the soundtrack to the movie ‘Shocker.’ It may still be too soon to talk about a new album, but roll on Firefest and we’ll see where things go from there. For now, it’s a great opportunity to get hold of a rock classic. Every home should have one.

Ant Heeks

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