AOR struggled through the late 90’s timeframe, and it wasn’t a good look, I don’t think Stranded were ever going to set the world on fire with this release.
Written by: gdmonline
ALBUM: Long Way To Heaven
LABEL: Escape Music
SERIAL: ESM 047
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
LINEUP: Troy Reid – vocals, drums, percussion, rhythm & acoustic guitar * Kenny Kaos – lead, rhythm, & acoustic guitar * James Wright, Dane Deviller – guitars * Dean Warren, Dave Hopia – bass * Jeff Ryan, Peter Barone, Gary Grace – drums * Larry Hirshman, Paul Airey, Andy Lorimer, Lewis Nitikman, Dave Pickell, Michael Rheult – keyboards * Darcey Deutsch, Andre Kunkel, Tracy Masson – backing vocals
TRACK LISTING: 01 Somebody Laughs * 02 Make Your Move * 03 Only Human * 04 Fight On * 05 Coming Of Age * 06 Spaceman * 07 Still Want You * 08 It’s A Long Way To Heaven * 09 Always * 10 Heart So Cold * 11 Tonight Can Last Forever
I’ve always wanted to review this album since way back. l never got around to it because I could never find a copy of it in either CD or mp3 format. Until recently that is.
The main reason for my interest is the inclusion of personnel from some of my favourite Canadian bands. Let’s start with: Agent, Straight Lines, Body Electric, Paul Laine and The Distance.
‘Long Way To Heaven’ is probably painted as a Troy Reid solo album by the looks of things, and with Agent‘s ‘Evidence’ album released the year before by Escape Music, this album is a logical follow-on from that.
It’s a fluid start to things as ‘Somebody Laughs’ gets us going. The wet sounding guitar lines provide a swampy sound, though the song keeps to a pop/rock structure. ‘Make Your Move’ is a tougher track, enjoyable due mostly to Reid’s hypnotic snake-eyed vocal.
‘Only Human’ is a bouncy sounding slice of AOR which brightens things appreciably, it’s followed by the serious sounding ‘Fight On’, and at this stage of precedings, Stranded are making all the right moves. ‘Coming Of Age’ surges on with a lovely jangly guitar sound, ‘Spaceman’ changes the mood with its astronautical theme, a whimsical pop rocker.
‘It’s A Long Way To Heaven’ I found to be a little less interesting, not so ‘Always’ which has a groovy acoustic/electric mix, not quite new country or Ray Lyell influenced, but still good. ‘Tonight Can Last Forever’ finishes the album, a ballad that touches all the right buttons for a song of this type. Good one.
AOR really struggled through this late 90’s timeframe, and overall it wasn’t a good look nor a good sound that was being achieved generally across the board. I don’t think Stranded were ever going to set the world on fire with this release, though there were a handful of good songs on offer. As it turned out, this wasn’t the first and last album from this lot, they reconvened two decades later with their second album ‘New Dawn’ released in 2019.
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