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Now & Then / Frontiers FRCD 100
Produced by: Mark Stuart & Vince O'Regan

Released: January 14 / Website
Relatives: early Honeymoon Suite, Pride, John Parr, Heartland

  1. Talk About Love
  2. Inspiration
  3. Don't Wanna Lose You
  4. Waiting
  5. Star
  6. Crazy
  7. Lady
  8. Heartbeat
  9. Just For A Moment
  10. Believe In Me
  11. After Midnight
  12. Without You

Just as I was speaking of in the 91 Suite review - the same goes for Pulse. This is the debut album for this British band that play a mixed blend of pure AOR. Again like 91 Suite, there is an equal mix of guitar and keyboards, supported by the lead vocals of Simon Abbotts.
While the band have their own feel, the album's sound is mostly derivative of other British AOR acts, like Virginia Wolf, Dare, Heartland, Bob Catley and Magnum, there is also another strong comparison. That of early-mid era Honeymoon Suite.
Simon's vocals are close to Johnnie Dee's and the keyboard/guitar mix is exactly what Honeymoon Suite were doing in the 80's. That's not bad thing - this album isn't dated, but the sound is certainly mid/late 80's AOR.
The band's strong point is their songs - tracks like Inspiration are first rate 80's anthem AOR, with hooks and melodies aplenty.
The debut Virginia Wolf album comes to mind a few times, as does the Honeymoon Suite references, but these guys have their sound and should be checked out if you are a fan of the previously mentioned bands.
The production is strong and quite satisfactory for a debut album, but that's not to say it couldn't be improved a little next time.
BOTTOM LINE: Another good pick up for fans of moody, passionate AOR records. With it's even mix of guitar and keyboards, strong vocals and 80's friendly style, Pulse's debut should find a good fan base out there. I would expect the follow up to be even better, as the band hones their skills and mature as they continue to work and play together.
Above all, the songs are strong and contain some good hooks. They don't break any new ground, but capably put their own spin on a classic AOR sound and are doing their best to revitalise that sound.
ESSENTIAL FOR: Fans of 80's style AOR with lots of hooks and melody lines.

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