|Mike Reno Renovation||Indie|
Mike Reno's Renovation is a very curious release indeed.|
First the facts behind the record – it was recorded in the early 90's as Mike Reno's solo debut, but due to industry politics was never released.
Mike has toyed with releasing this himself since 2000 and was in talks with European labels to help make that happen. But his distrust of labels in general has seen him release this album himself, via his website.
Initially you couldn't purchase this unless you are a paid up member of Mike's "inner circle" of fans, but sanity prevailed and it's now available to anyone who logs onto Mike's website.
The album features a line-up of top LA session guys. Sadly though, just who is largely a mystery, as the information on the site is almost non-existent and the CD packaging offers no additional information – it's a simple cover with a plain white reverse side.
But I can add that the album was co-written and produced with Mark Spiro, who also handles a lot of the music. Popular guitarist Tim Pierce is featured throughout.
The music itself – the most important factor – also has a small issue hanging over it. I presume Sony owns the original master tapes, as it appears Mike doesn't. This must have been mastered from his own personal copies of those master tapes, as this isn't mint quality. The sound quality on offer here is good, but no better than some of the sourced-from-DAT bootleg's that have been going around trading circles for the past several years.
While the production quality would have originally sounded killer, the muddy quality of these tracks will have some disappointed. That fact will also put owners of bootleg or CDR copies off buying the original, now it is finally available.
As far as the songs go, that's the album's high point. Collectively speaking, the 10 songs on offer here showcase Mike Reno at his very best and are amongst the strongest songs he has committed vocals to in his recording history.
If releases at the time it would have rated alongside Loverboy's best work and to this day – quality aside – is an astoundingly good selection of classic early/mid-90's melodic rock.
The tone of the album is quite dark – it has several moody passages and some good rockers. Great to hear the guitar as the dominant instrument, aside from Mike's powerhouse vocals.
This is a hard edged melodic rock album and tops Loverboy for heaviness in places – such as the opening rocker Affection, Dream Machine and I Say Go.
Then there is the sentimental AOR side to the album, such as the stunning power ballad Still In Love and the ultra smooth Take Me Back.
The remaining tracks are more or less classic Loverboy in style.
The original recordings included a track called Guilty As Charged. The copy I have has a drop-out mid-track and apparently that's the same with all copies. Must be, as that track has been dropped from this release. But that's a pity, as the opening track Affection is cut off abruptly, which is what I would describe as an error. So if such small glitches are still present, then the addition of Guilty As Charged would have been no greater problem.
The one exclusive track to this release is the raw, vocal/piano version of the classic ballad All I Ever Needed. The track was written and recorded with David Foster, for inclusion on his 1990 River Of Love album. This version is a stripped back vocal version. The full band version of Foster's album is also well worth checking out.
However, if you already have a bootleg copy, there is unfortunately little reason here for an upgrade - aside from the one exclusive track. This could have been a timeless classic - and in some ways still is - but the overall package could have been better than what's on offer here.
include("f-review.p3"); retrieve("mreno-r",0,1); ?>