A spontaneous 'Hey!', from the incomparable Mark (before he was Marcy) Free over the first few explosive bars of opener, 'Arms Of A Stranger'
suggests that even Free was moved by his band's music.
Mining for gold, and striking a rich vein of eighties' melodic rock, Krescendo Records have done it again with Signal
(including a marvellous remastering job). Signal
started life as a project for songwriter, Mark Baker and musician, Erik Scott.
Mark Free, Jan Uvena (drums) and Danny Jacob (guitar) were subsequently recruited and a bunch of songs demoed.
Writers Curt Cuomo, Eddie Schwartz, John Bettis, Van Stephenson and Bob Halligan jnr all contributed, so the calibre of the songs is witheringly high.
However, as a result of record company politics (stop me if you've heard this one before), the album received no support from the label, neither on or after release.
Another classic was consigned to the status of "cult".
Like Autograph's 'Sign In Please'
, it evokes the mood of optimism that was abroad in the eighties. This was the era of Reaganomics, Thatcherism and perestroika after all. 'Loud&Clear'
is brimful of heartstopping hooks, vertiginous choruses, sparkling guitar and keyboard work. But most of all, it's about Mark Free's wonderfully expressive vocals. He's up there with Perry and Gramm. There can be no argument about that.
The afore mentioned 'Arms Of A Stranger'
is right there in pole position not just because it's a great melodic rock song, but because of its accessibility, its sheer spine tingling immediacy.
The remaining tracks are marginally less immediate, but reward the constant listener.
The band's declamatory, stadium filling style ensures that the keyboard heaven of 'Does It Feel Like Love'
and the brilliantly grandiose poprock of 'Wake Up You Little Fool'
maintain the standard established in those first few bars.
Elsewhere, it's occasionally overblown and pompous, but this was de rigeur for eighties' MHR. The chest beating 'Could This Be Love'
and the lachrymose 'Go'
clearly illustrate the unironic joy and solemn sorrow of archetypal AOR.
It really didn't get much better than this.
We should celebrate the fact that Signal
gave us this one, outstanding album before they spiralled south.
Written by Brian
Monday, March 30, 2009Show all reviews by BrianRatingsBrian: 9/10
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