Robert Hart delivers 43 minutes of AOR and hi-tech with soul, synth pop and hard rock leanings.
Written by: DaveT
ARTIST: Robert Hart
LABEL: Escape Music Ltd.
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
LINEUP: Robert Hart – vocals * Tommy Denander – guitar, keyboards * Brian J. Anthony – bass * Michael Lange – drums * Steve Overland – backing vocals
TRACK LISTING: 01 Making Magic * 02 Little Miracles * 03 Sensational * 04 Go Crazy * 05 This Is The Night * 06 Different People * 07 Double Trouble * 08 Chemistry * 09 Mysterious * 10 Don’t Make Promises * 11 Scene Of The Crime * 12 Colour Of Love
Born as Kevin Michael O’Neill, the British singer is the vocalist of Manfred Mann’s Earth Band. During his career, he has fronted Bad Company, The Jones Gang and The Company Of Snakes and Diesel (the British band from 2014). He has also sung on Distance‘s only album ‘Under The One Sky’ and this is his third solo album after ‘Cries And Whispers’ and the eponymous sophomore from 1989 and 1992, respectively.
Produced by Denander and Overland, who are also the main songwriters, these 43 minutes of AOR and Hi Tech with Soul, Synth Pop and hard rock leanings as well strongly recall what Robert Palmer and Steve Winwood were doing during their melodic peak of the mid-to-late 1980’s.
The album sounds a million bucks, while Steve Overland’s vocal support adds another dimension to the already strong melodies. Years have added depth to Mr. Hart’s warm, well-aged pipes. However, Denander seems to be the star who can either shred or sound bluesy, soulful or funky as needed to meet the songs requirements.
Opener ‘Making Magic’ as well as closer ‘Colour Of Love’ comfortably fit into the Hi Tech style. There are no actual ballads, the closer you will find here is ‘Little Miracles’ in which the synth makes a fluffy bed for the power chords and Hart’s impassioned vocals to shine.
The catchy tunes ‘Sensational’ and ‘Mysterious’ easily recall that familiar Robert Palmer template of synths mixed with heavy guitars. A strong Synth Pop flavor surrounds the sound of ‘This Is The Night’ (whose intro sounds a little like Donna Summer‘s ‘She Works Hard For The Money’), the groovy ‘Don’t Make Promises’ and the soulful ‘Chemistry”.
Speaking of which, ‘Different People’ shows the Soul face of Hart as a singer while the subliminal Funk of ‘Go Crazy’ springs to mind The Power Station. ‘Double Trouble’ rocks hard a la Bad Company whilst a signature AOR chord progression (as defined by Ed Motta and the Japanese connoisseurs) shapes the westcoast of the fantastic ‘Scene Of The Crime’.
A tasteful and elegant mix of AOR, rock and pop with no fillers in sight. Somewhere during the 1980’s, pock/pop production and sound quality reached a peak that this album clearly aims at reproducing.
It succeeds for the most part, only a few listeners might consider ‘Pure’ as too polished or safe, while I am of the opinion that this is delectably warm and rather unique in these times and given the current state of the musical scene.
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