Artist: Strangeways   
   Title:  Age Of Reason
   Label: Dangerous Dog Records  
 

It takes a big chunk of positiveness to have the cahoonas to come out with the statement "I think this is the album our fans have been waiting for..."  these days.  It just sets you up for one hell of a fall if you're wrong.

Strangeways American singer Terry Brock seems so sure of this with his band's 8th studio album 'Age Of Reason', but shouldn't he also take into consideration those of us just being introduced to Strangeways for the first time too?  That's just as important if you want to impress surely??  Well, let's have a look, shall we?

You can't complain about the mid tempo introduction with 'The Sentinel', its echoing vocals by Brock himself suiting the atmospheric mood floating about the tune, and it has to be noted, some cracking solos to boot!  'Run' does edge its way into Journey territory at times, again with touches of echo on the harmonies, its steady pace set up to keep the rockier side of melodic just right.  You can almost sense that, yes, this is going to be a canny album after all.

Just to reinforce that comment, Brock turns up the heat on the stylish ballad 'Playin' It Over', his crispy, though soothing voice a perfect match to the easy listening arrangement the band play brilliantly.  As they delve into 'As We Fall', that laid back sensation is on hold throughout, a few haunting solos break the mould a touch, but not for too long.

Well, would you believe it, another ballad!  'Call' just seems to be a bit of a continuation from before, but, now, c'mon 'End Of The Day'!  This is like our bus service, you don't get one for a while, then you get four together!  OK, this song may be more an acoustic-led side than the others were, but there needs to be a bit more energy now.

Thank you, 'Alive Again'! possibly the best way to describe the moment now on the album, and about time too.  Even the band sound like that as well.  The scratchy riff and vibrant drumming seems to have shaken off the listlessness that came before, so where do they go from here?

Doh!!  Right, enough's really enough, it's all getting over-balladed now, no matter how well they do them.  'Silver moon'? Paint it over with little touches on guitar and keyboards all you want, its getting almost sedative now.

Unfortunately 'Frozen' comes in a tad too late to save the day, perhaps its raunchy six-string-fest could have been slipped into the album earlier to break up the sleep-inducing effect this album seems to be having!  And as that pattern returns with 'Long Road' (yes it has been!), not even a velvety solo can stop you reaching for the light switch and ... Zzzzz!!

Please don't get me (too) wrong here, 'Age Of Reason' isn't a bad album by any means.  Thing is, you must either be a big fan of Strangeways, or at least REALLY love the soothing ballads to truly appreciate what the band have come up with here.  The only other option open is, get your pyjamas on before you give this a whirl, because you won't be arsed to move from where you are by the time it's finished!!

Review by: Bob Baldwin

Tracklisting:

1. The Sentinel
2. Run
3. Playin' It Over
4. As We Fall
5. Call
6. End Of The Day
7. Alive Again
8. Silver Moon
9. Frozen
10. Long Road   

                    

 

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