Rococo - 'The Firestorm And Other Love Songs'

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Rococo - 'The Firestorm And Other Love Songs'

Sounds rather dated, but that doesn't stop good songs being good songs.

Considering that at their early 70’s peak Rococo were breaking attendance records at London’s renowned and much missed Marquee club, it is still rather bemusing that they never actually managed to release an album. The band did however spend much time recording tracks in the studio and managed to get two singles released through Decca’s Deram label and EMI, although the progressive, soft rock eclecticism of their output stopped either label from committing to that elusive long-player. Struggling on for a few more years, the band morphed into The Brats, who somehow got caught up in the burgeoning punk movement, although success ultimately eluded this incarnation of the band as well.

Featuring Ian Raines on vocals, Ray Shipton on keyboards and Rod Halling on guitars, the line up of Rococo featured on ‘The Firestorm And Other Love Songs’ is possibly best known for producing drummer Clive Edwards who went on to play with UFO, Grand Prix and Phil Lynott among many others and John “Rhino” Edwards, who has been the bassist in Status Quo for some 25 years. With hindsight it is quite hard to see why record label executives found the pleasant and reasonably unchallenging mix of piano led rock, startlingly quick drumming and hook laden choruses so unpalatable, as this second Rococo retrospective release from Angel Air highlights a band that sound like they were ripe for success in an age where the charts were awash with pop/rock acts who were blurring genre boundaries. Raines combines wonderfully with Shipton and Halling to create some irresistible layered vocal harmonies, while the latter’s sharp guitar work sparkles as it dances through Shipton’s ever evolving piano lines.

There’s no denying that with hindsight the end results sound rather dated, but that doesn’t stop good songs being good songs - something which on the evidence of ‘The Firestorm And Other Love Songs’, Rococo were never short of.

Steven Reid

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