Reviews April/04

Double Cross / Time after Time / TB-CD-0109


Double Cross - Big hookladen pomp rock from the Midlands! Tracklisting:Reach out; How do we know; Touch the Sun; When two Worlds collide; When we were young; Valley of the Kings; Don't walk away; One lonely Night; All my Days; My Heart belongs to you; Only the strong; Time after Time.

I'm quite in chock here - the British pomp/AOR band Double Cross has made an absolute hammer of an album. On the ashes of several British bands i.e. Liar, Prowler, Mama's Boys, Graffiti and 2Die4 Double Cross has every positive aspect of Anglophobic melodic rock you can imagine. Frontman and vocalist Rick Chase, Stephen Kelly on guitars, Gareth "Gaf" Franks on bass, Pete Lakin on keyboards and Steve Pilpotts on drums are all very experienced musicians and you can hear that. Their musical abilities combined with an enthusiastic attitude and catchy melodies all wrapped in a 100% top quality package of great production and layout - who could ask for more?
As I already pointed out this album is loaded with great tracks, therefore it is very difficult to pick some out and not others.. but I simply must mention tracks like the magnificent opener "Reach out" and "When two Worlds collide" on both which Bob Catley from Magnum provides backing vocals and the musical style is recognizable in British bands like Magnum (of course), Strangeways and sometimes even Ten. But also "How do we know", "When we were young" and ...
One of many strengths in Double Cross is that they never loose their melodies and therefore they can make an elegant mixture of the big pomp rock and AOR. In example there are several ballads which never get to a state of boredom - but always are well placed and delievered with great elegance. Even the "kinky" little track "Valley of the Kings" with its Egyptian/Eastern/Exotic flavoured melody is an absolute classic in spe!
All in all this is one of the best records in 2004 so far - and its gonna take a real hard effort to beat this one. Buy buy!

Dakota / Deep 6 / DAK 003


Dakota - Deep 6 in my opinion their best so far!! Tracklisting:Brothers in Arms; Holdin' your own; Back to me; Not so much in Love; What were you thinking?; That awful Day; Eye of the Storm; Not just the night; Right this Minute; Shut up and drive; The Ride; Luck, Time and Mind; Deep 6.

Let me tell you at once - I'm VERY found of nearly everything Dakota has done in the past! Their 2000 release "Little Victories" is among my all time favorites. Their elegant mixture of AOR and west coast music will appeal to every music lover from fans of Chicago i.e. on tracks like "Right this minute" to hard rock fans of REO Speedwagon and others on tracks like "Eye of the Storm" and "Shut up and drive". Since 1971 when vocalist/bassist/guitarist Jerry G. Hludzik (nowadays only original member) and co-founder Bill Kelly teamed up first under the name The Buoys they have made this intelligent cocktail - but it was in 1978 they made the foundation to Dakota as Jerry/Kelly with their selftitled debut. Since then one of their highlights was their 1984 released "Runaway" and I caught them first with their "Lost tracks" which became "Mr. Lucky" on Escape Music i 1997. This was a triumphant return after 10 years abcense with Hludzik as only remaining member - he teamed up with the current line up of Rick Manwiller (who actually has been in the band since 1981) on guitar, keyboards and vocals, Jon Lorace on guitars and vocals and Eli Hludzik on drums. As they did in 2000 they recorded with Bill Champlin from Chicago - this time on the mellow track "Back to me". And original member Bill Kelly is featured on 3 tracks, too - on "Holding your own", "What were you thinking" and "Right this minute".
Once again the producer/songwriter team of Hludzik and Manwiller has made a very mature record that manages to appeal to a lot of people out there with a lot of good songs, melodies and performance - "Deep 6" is highly recommended!

Crossfade / White on blue / MTM 0681-96


Crossfade - A big Swedish Westcoast release! Tracklisting:The Day the Music died; Did you really; Vanity Fair; Flying; A deeper Shade of Love; Thorns of Life; Loving Eyes; Time; Don't really matter; You.

Crossfade is far along the road the wet dream of every lover of Toto, Foster, Sting, Graydon, Pages, Michael McDonald, Steely Dan, Don Henley and Mr. Mister - according to guitarist and main man Lars Hallbäck.
And i must say that i am very impressed by all the musical skills here from the fluid guitarplaying by Hallbäck and the alway amazing vocal parts by Göran Edman , but also the sensitive drummer Per Lindvall who had worked with ABBA, Michael Ruff and A-HA and his little brother Sven Lindvall on bass (also with A-HA) and not to forget keyboard player Richard Stenström. All songs are backed up by a massive "blow-section" featuring trumpets, saxophone and trumbone!
This "White on Blue" album covers it all from the 60's inspired gospel background choir on "A deeper Shade of Love" to a speedy Lukather-like guitarsolo on closing track "You" and everything in between big organs, lots of trumpets, intimicy, power, atmosphere and marvellous musical skills and performance!
The ambition with this record was to make one the most wonderful westcoast albums ever - and i must say that they have done that. Mixed by Europe-man Ronny Lahti this is as smooth and slick as hell but manages to stick to your ears for (nearly) ever. I'm very exited about this westcoast with a twist...

© Steen Peitersen 1999-2004