My recommendation for this album is off the charts. Listeners should check out The Hollies and ‘Staying Power’ for the real deal.
Written by: Eric
ARTIST: The Hollies
ALBUM: Staying Power
SERIAL: 355 9832
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: England
LINEUP: Peter Howarth – vocals, acoustic guitars * Tony Hicks – guitar, banjo, mandolin, electric sitar, vocals * Ray Stiles – bass, vocals * Steve Lauri – guitar, vocals * Ian Parker – keyboards, vocals * Bobby Elliot – drums, percussion
TRACK LISTING: 01 Hope * 02 So Damn Beautiful * 03 Prove Me Wrong * 04 Break Me * 05 Shine On Me * 06 Suspended Animation * 07 Touch Me * 08 Emotions * 09 Weakness * 10 Live It Up * 11 Yesterdays Gone * 12 Let Love Pass
WEBLINKS: Site Link
Let’s face it. 2006 was not a stellar year for AOR. The scene seems to be in disarray, or more to the point, out of creative gas. In my opinion, this has been coming for a while with a gradual yearly slide into melodic rock purgatory, but the past 12 months was without a doubt a low point.
All is not lost though since the veterans of the scene, those who have been around for 20 to 30 years (or more) seem to be flourishing artistically, check out the latest UFO and the neglected Voyager disc ‘Eyecontact’ as good examples how AOR is supposed to be done.
Now we can add The Hollies to the list of ‘old guys’ that can still astound and surprise. Long gone is original vocalist Allan Clarke, replaced by Peter Howarth whose previous resume includes song writing with Steve Farris of Mr. Mister, and work with Saga and Giant, as well as Sir Cliff Richard and 10cc.
Throw in a major label contract and a seemingly endless and highly successful tour of the UK and you have a band that most people thought were dead in the water years ago. You just never know.
Was Howarth the right choice for a band known for their extraordinary vocal harmonies? Absolutely. Howarth has a classic AOR voice and the material here fits his style perfectly with high quality melodic rock. Not since The Guess Who‘s 1995 ‘Lonely One’ release have I been as impressed by a comeback of a band of vintage stature.
‘Hope’ opens the proceedings with a beautiful slice of melodic bliss reminding me very much of The Storm circa ‘Eye of the Storm’. Yes, it’s that good. ‘So Damn Beautiful’, the albums single is equally as strong with a gorgeous hook and its here I am reminded of the first Departure album and the vocals of Ken Michaels (what happened to him?).
Both Howarth and Michaels have the same qualities and proof positive that this is not the same band that brought you ‘Bus Stop’. ‘Break Me’ again, will have fans of classic AOR swoon. If this had been released in 1983, it would have been a monster FM hit, but wait there’s more.
‘Touch Me’ runs down the same path, like an English Franke & the Knockouts. Just listen to that pompy keyboard work. I am in heaven. ‘Weakness’ has a Starship ‘Love Among The Cannibals’ feel while the ballads found on ‘Staying Power’ are never overtly sweet and sugary, but are highly listenable with enough power to remind you that this is a rock band and a great one at that.
My recommendation for this album is off the charts. This is an AOR album those us who have been around the scene a while will absolutely treasure. Those of you new to AOR living on a steady diet of Escape and Frontiers output, not to mention the latest overly hyped discs lauded on other sites, should check out The Hollies and ‘Staying Power’ for the real deal.