Fiona - 'Unbroken'

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Fiona - 'Unbroken'

A wonderful return.

Nineteen years after her last release, ‘Squeeze’, way back in 1992, melodic rock’s long lost, adorable chanteuse makes her comeback; and one look at the cover proves that the years have been very kind to Fiona. And the music? Well, you can all relax, because with the rare exception, this is well and truly a love letter to the 80s.

Having been mightily impressed with House of Lords’ ‘Cartesian Dreams’ and Robin Beck’s latest, Fiona hooked up with the production/writing team behind those marvelous releases, and with a few golden nuggets rescued from her box in the attic and a couple of covers, has created an album that will more than satisfy her numerous ardent fans.

Opening track ‘Loved Along the Way’ sets out the stall. Co-written with Tommy Denander and sounding like something off Brian McDonald’s ‘Wired Up’ masterpiece, this track rocks hard, but Fiona’s vocals are as beguiling and strong as ever, belting out the chorus in indomitable 80s fashion.

Speaking of the 80s, we also have ‘Badge of Love’, co-written with song-writing icon Holly Knight. The achingly familiarity had me racking my brains, until I pulled out Robin Beck’s glorious debut and checked out ‘Hide Your Heart’. Hmmm, also a Holly Knight co-write.

‘Salt on My Wings’ is a dark, heavy beast, reminding me of co-writer Christian’s ‘The Warden’ from his ‘Rude Awakening’ album, and Fiona acquits herself admirably, singing with a harder, grittier edge to her vocal. 

Elsewhere we have co-writes with the afore-mentioned Brian McDonald and Marc Tanner, both maintaining that distinctly 80s vibe, which is continued on ‘This Heart’, on which Robin Beck duets – pure 80s Heart with delightful vocals and instrumentation.

Bridging the past with the present, we have two songs written by The Elements, the trio responsible for the wonderful ‘Baby I’m Not a Bitch from Robin’s ‘Great Escape’. ‘I’ve Released You’ starts off with a modern vibe, but the chorus is glorious, with an almost religious feel. ‘I Love You But Shut Up’ is by far the most modern sounding song on the album – alongside title track ‘Broken’ – with an almost ‘Dude Looks Like a Lady’ vibe, but adds a welcome contrast to the 80s love-fest we’ve been enjoying.

Of the two covers, first we have the wonderful Pat Benatar hit ‘Shadows of the Night’ which Fiona makes her own, taking the song in a different direction and stamping her personality indelibly on the result, and the album closes with a cover of Prophet’s ‘Everything You Are’, a soaring ballad and a song purportedly written for Fiona by her then boyfriend, Scott Metaxas.

The bargain bins are strewn with so many disappointing comebacks, but Fiona can hold her head high with this wonderful return. The first of many? One can only hope, and have a little tinge of regret for what those lost 19 years could have given us. But for now, this will do very nicely indeed. Still loving the album cover – spread those wings!

Bruce Mee

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