An interesting band, and a great assortment of talent assembled under the banner of Life by Night.
Written by: gdmonline
ARTIST: Life By Night
ALBUM: Life By Night
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Tom Croucier – vocals, bass * Jeff Naideau – keyboards; guitars * Stuart Mathis – guitars * Kevin Anderson – keyboards * Bryan Hitt – drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 Phone To Phone * 02 I Believe In You * 03 Angel * 04 Non Stop World * 05 No One Knows * 06 Automatic * 07 Trouble * 08 For No Reason * 09 Situation * 10 Life By Night
Here we have a stylish hi-tech 80’s pop rock band from Los Angeles. An interesting band, and a great assortment of talent assembled under the banner of Life by Night. With Toto‘s management Fitzgerald And Hartley behind them, and a reasonably successful label in EMI-Manhattan, LBN certainly had some aces in their hand.
Musically they intersect numerous bands of that era, namely contemporaries such as Cock Robin and Aimee Mann‘s Til Tuesday. Lead singer Tom Croucier is the brother of Dokken and Ratt bassist Juan Croucier, and his vocal style touches David Bowie and Iva Davies (Icehouse) in some parts.
The songs are heavily crafted with keyboards, not surprisingly with two players in there, while Stuart Mathis’ guitar is subtle and understated. Opener ‘Phone To Phone’ is a softish start to the album, gracing us with a lovely chorus and a magic hook throughout. ‘I Believe In You’ is a dance-ridden anthem circa 1985.
‘Non Stop World’ is another dance/rock crossover track, not too far off from where a band like A440 lives. ‘No One Knows’ is a luscious slice of rock, with some cutting guitars and stabbing keyboards through the middle. Hi-tech keyboard wizardry abounds on ‘Trouble’, a sort of wacky quirky interlude that a band like Charlie or Donnie Iris could get away with.
‘For No Reason’ is a nothing sort of song, saved somewhat by the stunning guitar solo of Stuart Mathis towards the end. LBN step out on ‘Situation’ while the title track ‘Life By Night’ continues the dance anthem theme with some keyboard overkill and bass poppin’ courtesy of Mr Croucier.
Definitely a good band for their time, and a pity they only lasted for this one album during the 80’s. As for the whereabouts of these chaps. Mathis went on to join Peter McIan and Billy Trudel in The City the following year, while Bryan Hitt had stints with Stan Bush and is currently with REO Speedwagon.
In surprising news decades later, Tom Croucier released a second Life By Night album called ‘Glass Walls’ during late 2021, though I suspect these were recorded back in the late 80’s. It was a nice Christmas present nonetheless.
Phone To Phone