Title: SpeedwayLabel: Frontiers Music Srl
God for good old British AOR. That's all I've got to
say! Not to be outdone by our foreign cousins who
shove out reams of the stuff at a ridiculous rate, Blood
Red Saints have only gone and showed that 'us Brits' can
do the business just as well, if not better, with this
storming album 'Speedway'. The band consist of Pete
Godfrey (vocals), Lee Revill (guitars), Rob Naylor (bass)
and Pete Newdeck (drums), who were aided in getting signed
to Frontiers by Vega's own James Martin, and in turn,
along with his brother, Tom, co-wrote 2 songs on the
album, AND help was at hand on the mastering of said album
by Harry Hess! Phew, you kept up with all that!!
The band's name derives from the late 1920's Speedway team from Brooklyn, New York, and as if in homage to said team, the first track of the album, 'Kicking up Dust' starts off with old style commentary of a race, then flies out of the traps at breakneck pace, rocking away like a good 'un, something that 'Freddie Rendetti' would surely approve of (check him out!). This is followed rather riffingly by the thudding drum-intro'd 'Mercy', Godfrey's gravelly vocals not too dissimilar to Mr. Hess, so definitely nothing wrong in that department then! Lee Revill seems to erm .. well ... revel in the indulgence he's allowed on the six-stringed solo's that fly here and there, beefing up the track to ultimate rockdom, before bringing the tempo down gradually on the harmonious "ballad" 'Best Of Me'. Yet if you think that one is good, allow yourself to get swept away within the glorious 'Love Set Me Up Again', possibly the one that got away from Jon Bon Jovi, it's straight out of his repertoire, but done miles better by BRS!
'Better Days' hollers out modern day Def Leppard vibes, whilst 'Dangerous' is steeped with mood changes, quite subtle and gentle one moment, then the rocking pulse bursts through in droves as Revill once again takes the spotlight on his solo, before reining it all in as the keys-led power ballad 'The Best Thing' tugs away at the emotions. A rock version of Lady Antebellum style if you can get your head round that one!
Delving back into Lep territory, 'Unbreakable' shimmys along with an infectious 'Hey, Hey' chorus, then suddenly you'd think Steve Overland and Co. had appeared out of nowhere, as 'Wrapped Up In These Arms' would fit into their melodic landscape with no problem at all, as would the jabbing-riffed gem 'Feels A Lot Like Love', which has inkling of FM's 'Bring Back Yesterday' around some of the guitar work, but not too much!
if you REALLY want to hear a song sung with passion and
just plain old sensitivity, you'll get no better than the
neck-tingling 'Faith', and doesn't Godfrey deliver the
goods brilliantly! This slightly Beatlesque ballad
just stops the world from moving, holding you in it's
tender grasp for the duration of the song before it comes
to it's sudden ending, when you really just want it to go
on for longer. For me, the sign of a really great
song that hits the mark it was intended for, which it did
for this reviewer! It took the strangely,
finger-popping bottle-opening, sigh of enjoyment
instrumental 'CGRNR' to bring me back down to Earth!
Give it a listen, then you'll realise why!!
Now, there's only one way I can say this, but seeing as I'm 53, the lads hopefully won't take this as not being in any way intentionally disrespectful, but they aren't exactly 'spring chickens' themselves, yet the more you listen to the album, the better it gets, and it puts some of the younger 'pups' to shame when the maturer gents within the Rock Fraternity belt out such impressive songs as these. Surely a lesson to be learned for the younger generation out there when it comes to making what they hope can be their 'classic' album. 'Speedway' is easily one of the best albums I've heard in a long time, and it'll be a long time before I'll say that again if this has anything to do with it. 'Faith' steals the show.
Review by: Robb Baldwin
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