Fireworks

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Survivor - 'Survivor' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/3d/2f/2a/787_SurvivorSurvivor_1289090047.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     November 07, 2010    
 
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A remarkable debut with the classic Survivor sound already fully formed.

Survivor, the band that brought together song writers Jim Peterik and Frankie Sullivan with vocalist Dave Bickler, probably need no introduction to the readers of this magazine. What does surprise me when I’ve had conversations with fellow fans is how few people seem to be familiar with this, their 1979 debut album. Even though the band went stratospheric with its third album due to the inclusion of the title track on the Rocky III soundtrack, I still think their first couple of albums were all-round better releases and classics in their own right with barely a filler in sight.

Song-wise ‘Survivor’ was a remarkable debut with the classic Survivor sound already fully formed, even if it was lacking the solid bottom end that a later change of rhythm section would bring. The first single ‘Somewhere In America’ has a gentle intro before kicking into a catchy riff, then by the time Bickler’s distinctive melodic tones lead you into the memorable chorus you know you’re onto something good. As the record unfolds there are plenty of great rock songs with catchy choruses and tidy guitar parts on ‘20/20’, ‘Let It Be Now’, ‘Youngblood’, ‘As Soon As Love Finds Me’ and ‘Freelance’, poppier fare like ‘Can’t Getcha Offa My Mind’ and ‘Whole Town’s Talkin’’ and the superb ballad ‘Nothing Can Shake Me (From Your Love)’. The key to the Survivor sound was the twin guitars of Sullivan and Peterik, but as it became clear that Sullivan was the better player Peterik spent just as much time on the keyboards and those options gave the band two different dynamics to vary the sound. This version also includes a bonus track, ‘Rebel Girl’, that’s a typical mid-paced Survivor song from the era and a nice addition to the package.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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Despite the great songs and singer, the recording of the rhythm section of bassist Dennis Johnson and drummer Gary Smith was perhaps a little too polite, even though the production team would later become a who’s who of great studio technicians with Ron Nevison, Barry Mraz, Bruce Fairbairn, Mike Clink and Bob Rock all involved somewhere in the production, engineering, mix and mastering. The remastering here is up to the usual standard and even beats the recent Japanese paper sleeve remasters, whilst the sleeve notes by Dave Reynolds are interesting and informative.

Phil Ashcroft

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