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Shooting Star Circles Frontiers Records
FRCD291
Produced By: Van McLain

Running Time: 52.03

Release Date: July 7

Released:

Musical Style: Melodic Rock

Links: Frontiers
82%
Songs: 91%
Sound: 73%
US melodic rockers Shooting Star return after way too long with a new studio album minus one lead singer - but with an equally good one stepping into his shoes.
Gary West and Keith Mitchell have both held the mike for the band, but in deciding to reform again now, the guys had to make an important choice. Who would best represent the new material and help the band move forward?
In my mind they could not have picked anyone better than AOR favourite Kevin Chalfant (The Storm / Two Fires). Kevin has one of those instantly likable voices and is perfectly suited to the melodic friendly material featured on this album. If anything, he takes the material to a new level and into a more AOR friendly area.
There is a natural earthy timbre to this album and the songs themselves are marvelous. The 10 tracks featured are thoroughly enjoyable and although varied, are held together by some strong performances by Kevin and guitarist Van McLain and some fine choruses. I don't hear any fillers in play at all.
The songs move from guitar driven Midwestern melodic rock (Runaway, Trouble In Paradise, Temptation) to straight AOR (Without Love, George's Song, What Love Is) via a little southern rock n roll (Everybody's Crazy), sometimes reflecting an 80s vibe and at other times a more timeless classic rock feel (Borrowed Time, I'm A Survivor which features some shredding guitar work).
The only problem with this album is the production quality. It does these songs and the guys performing them, no favors whatsoever.
The whole album sounds very hollow and the mix is not at all consistent, varying from track to track. While the quality of the lead vocals is not in question, the tone sometimes is. At times they have a tendency to sound as if they were recorded in a cupboard and the guitar sound is also quite muddy.
Worst offender though is the truly pedestrian drum sound. It kills the impact of the rhythm section completely and therefore knocks some of the power out of these songs.
The Bottom Line
Thankfully the song quality is strong enough that you can forgive the ordinary production. Kevin Chalfant's pitch perfect tone and Van McLain's wailing guitars drive this record and the songs written are I think about as good as it gets for Shooting Star fans.
It's great to hear Kevin back in the melodic rock business and I'm hoping his partnership with the band continues for a long time to come. But next time, perhaps a bigger recording budget and name producer might achieve a better overall result.
Discography / Previously Reviewed
Shooting Star
Hang On For Your Life
III Wishes
Burning
Silent Scream
It's Not Over
Leap Of Faith
Circles

Line Up:
Kevin Chalfant: Vocals
Van McLain: Guitars
Steve Thomas: Drums
Ron Verlin: Bass
Dennis Laffoon: Keyboards
Shane Michaels: Violin

Essential For Fans Of:
Shooting Star
Kevin Chalfant
Track Listing
Runaway
Without Love
Trouble In Paradise
George's Song
Borrowed Time
Everybody's Crazy
Temptation
I'm A Survivor
We're Not Alone
What Love Is
* --*Best Tracks


22/01/07: D.Paul - dpaul@cox.net
Rating: 80
I have never even of heard of Shooting Star but I am a Kevin Chalfant fan. I really enjoyed his work with The VU, The Storm and Two Fires. I also liked his Shadows Fade project. However, I was really disappointed in this album. I listened to it for a week and then put it on the shelf. There just aren't any tracks that grab you and make you want to hit the repeat button. Chalfant's vocals are in top form and I wasn't bothered by the production(If you want to hear how bad production can kill an alubum pick up Two Fires "Ignition" cd, but these songs are boring. Maybe on the next release Chalfant will get to play more of a part in the songwrtiting process.

14/12/06: Alliedforces - vonryan@comcast.net
Rating: 25
Nothing really good on here. By far the worst Shooting Star Cd, leap of Faith was so much better. Again Chalfant adds nothing to a band.Sorry...

06/12/06: Figge - anderssonfigge@hotmail.com
Rating: 75
I love "Trouble In Paradise", and there are a few ok songs, the rest isn't very interesting in the long run. Pretty disappointing release to be honest.

10/11/06: Paul - paul@pagrebo.com
Rating: 70
First off, I'll confess I'm not at all familiar with previous Shooting Star efforts. I picked this up as a fan of Kevin Chalfant, and even that has been wavering of late. His group of last year, Shadows Fade, was an incredibly amateurish effort. Combined with his gospel album and two less than stellar overall efforts with Two Fires has me wondering.

The bad news is that Andrew is correct about the production. It is incredibly flat throughout and downright poor in spots. The songs are generally pretty strong, though. RUNAWAY, GEORGE'S SONG, BORROWED TIME, and I'M A SURVIVOR are the standouts. The musician ship is tight, the arrangements are solid, vocals are perfect, but the production is just hollow. A good cd that could've been better.

21/07/06: Mike the conqouror - mhiner14@charter.net
Rating: 90
Sounds pretty darn good to me! Andrew is far too critical of this release. Now duff tracks and Kevin Chalfant shines as an absolute perfect fit for Shooting Star. I maybe have heard better production but nothing noticible when blasting through the car. I hope to see these guys as they pass through. Stooting Stars best since "Silent Scream" and compares favorably to "Hang for to Your Life" and classic SS sound.

21/07/06: koogles - endangeredcds@hotmail.com
Rating: 65
As a 21-year fan of Shooting Star, this CD comes as something as a disappointment. Nothing seems to stand out from the rest, and it's all generic, formulaic, made-to-order AOR. A far cry from the magic of "Hollywood", "Last Chance", "Summer Sun" and even a few tracks from their last CD, "Leap of Faith". This is, by far, their weakest and most indistinct effort, and not even Chalfant's recognizable vocals can't save by-the-numbers songwriting and uninspired lyrics. Sorry guys, I want to like it, but this is not your best work.

19/07/06: Kansas City Kevin - kckevinstefanik@aol.com
Rating: 95
What a killer album. Everything that made this band great 25 years is still there, blistering guitar solos, blazing violin, fantastic vocal harmonies and some smoking organ.

Every track manages to combine a spirit of freshness with a hint of vintage Shooting Star. It is as timeless as their debut album and will delite lovers of goodtime rocking party music.

While so called experts may debate the production quality, all I know is that this CD cranks in my car stereo just fine for me!!!

Kevin Chalfant brings a pedigree with him that will help propel this vibrant and unique band to their rightful place at the top of the melodic rock mountain.

17/07/06: rocky - runha2@hotmail.com
Rating: 90
hey, these guys can still rock.......they are back and what a comeback indeed....this is a must for all SS fans, and a good way to get to know the band for "new" fans...mr chalfant does a great job singing here, sound better than for yaers......keep up the good work guys............:-)


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