Heartland present an excellent piece of melodic rock, in my humble opinion not too far away from the likes of Dare, Strangeways and FM (UK), as being one of the best UK product to be produced in this genre/style.
Written by: gdmonline
SERIAL: 397 121-1 (vinyl), 397 121-2 (CD)
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: England
LINEUP: Chris Ousey – vocals * Gary Sharpe – guitars * Rik Carter – keyboards * Phil Brown – bass * Steve Gibson – drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 Teach You To Dream * 02 Carrie Anne * 03 Don’t Cast Your Shadow * 04 Real World * 05 Fight Fire With Fire * 06 That Thing * 07 Walking On Ice * 08 Paper Heart * 09 Paradise * 10 Promises
WEBLINKS: Site Link
My god, the UK rock press are an unforgiving lot aren’t they? This album was literally trashed by the big name mags. Only our friend from Boulevard Magazine Mark Ashton (now at Now And Then Records) gave this album a superlative review, and so it was that he was proved right. This is an excellent piece of melodic rock, in my humble opinion not too far away from the likes of Dare, Strangeways and FM (UK), as being one of the best UK product to be produced in this genre/style.
For those who remembered Chris Ousey with his earlier band Virginia Wolf, they would have known of his promise as an upcoming singer. With Heartland’s debut, he carries off the mantle of best UK rock vocalist. With Gary Sharpe, the two had known each other for years but came together initially as a songwriting team but knew the chemistry was just too good so they shopped a deal. In came A&M.
Along with the package came James ‘Jimbo’ Barton as a producer, fresh from his exploits with Queensryche. He really lays the icing on the cake, and you can tell when you listen to this expansive and lush recording versus some of Heartland’s later albums, what a difference the production makes.
We get booming tracks like the inspirational ‘Teach You To Dream’, the sweeping melodia of ‘Carrie Ann’, which is like Dare on steroids, while the band’s coup de grace is ‘Real World’, which moves in the same breath as classic Strangeways, it has to be heard to be believed. Exceptional stuff. ‘That Thing’ has all the hallmarks of NY favourites The Ladder, big drums, pounding rhythms, and 80’s keyboard parps.
Meanwhile, ‘Walking On Ice’ could be Glass Tiger circa ‘Diamond Sun’ or ‘Simple Mission’. ‘Promises’ is another belter, parping keyboards and the choruses are right down Giuffria and White Sister alley. The pace is slowed slightly on ‘Paper Heart’, but the production is glossy and full. The ballads are great too, with ‘Fight Fire With Fire’ being the pick of the bunch, very heartfelt.
To this day, this is the pick of all the Heartland albums. ‘Wide Open’ is a close second. The Escape Music material is OK, though the production is nowhere near as good as this one. Give Chris and Gary 10/10 for effort and productivity. However, they get docked a point for not being particularly happy with the overall result of the debut. What are you on about chaps? This is awesome.
Heartland on Video