a l b u m r e v i e w s


JOHN KEANE / STRAIGHT AWAY
LABEL: Lay Cut / IRS Germany LC957
OVERALL: 82%
Produced by: John Keane
  1. Straight Away
  2. Red Raven
  3. We Love Our Fantasies
  4. Venice Is Sinking
  5. After Dark
  6. She Can Not Be Denied
  7. Love Is The Last Frontier
  8. Headlines & Deadlines
  9. Dark Side Of The Earth
  10. Since I Met You
  11. Still
  12. More
John Keane is being touted as one of the next generation AOR musicians. He started his professional music career with Tom Keane. John has been playing as one of the busiest session drummers in L.A.
This is John Keane's vocal solo debut (he has an instrumental album out) and this release is one very fine album indeed. Provided you like Richard Page influenced westcoast pop rock.
It will depend on your melodic rock preferences if you like this or not. It has similar boundaries to the Fergie Frederiksen album, but is softer and more westcoast even than that album.
The main comparison I can draw from this album is high tech AOR style of 3rd Matinee, the album that Richard Page fronted with Madonna writing partner Patrick Leonard. Mid paced high tech AOR.
Straight Away opens the album, but is a little soft for my tastes. Red Raven is much better. A more uptempo and pure high tech AOR track.
We Love Our Fantasies is softer. The chorus is more Mr Mister pop rock and that rescues this track somewhat.
Venice Is Sinking has a Sting like vocal and is a soft middle of the road ballad with nice piano accompaniment.
After Dark is a pretty modern pop track. Drum rhythms and soft pop synthesizer and a smooth vocal are the main characteristics. Except that this progressively paced pop ballad has a wonderful chorus where Keane hardly misses a beat or takes a breath in swapping from one tone to another and running through the chorus.
She Can Not Be Denied and Love Is The Last Frontier are both co-produced by Wyn Davis - he who has helped out on many albums including Great White.
The first being a little slow and reminiscent of Mr Mister's Go On album. The latter track is however much better. A good uptempo high tech pop rocker.
Headlines continues the mid to slow paced AOR, but on Dark Side Of The Earth the album drops off again into too slow territory. Since I Met You is another good uptempo number. More splashes of Sting gone rock. Still sounds like it could be lifted from the Richard Page solo record. To finish the record, Keane performs a radical jump in style to high tech dance rock. Not the Rick Springfield type, more a techno Mr Mister. Not bad, but not strictly to my taste, but it is only one track.
A solid album of high tech AOR for sure, but one that will have to be played when the mood strikes me - not a high rotation album. Saying that, I know that there will be people that read this page that will and should have this on high rotation. If 3rd Matinee and soft Westcoast pop rock are your thing - check this well constructed album out.
PRODUCTION: 88%SONGS: 83%VIBE: 79%ATTITUDE: 81%
ESSENTIAL FOR: 3rd Matinee, Mr Mister/Richard Page fans. High tech AOR fans.

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