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

Produced by: Ron Irving and Dave Pickell
  1. Somebody Laughs
  2. Make Your Move
  3. Only Human
  4. Fight On
  5. Comin' Of Age
  6. Spaceman
  7. Still Want You
  8. Long Way To Heaven
  9. Always
  10. Heart So Cold
  11. Tonight
Stranded is Agent vocalist Troy Reid's new band project with the great Kenny Kaos. I admit I was not that much of an Agent fan, but that may change.
Escape have been responsible for some pretty impressive releases this year and this only adds to those.
This is a classic melodic rock album, with quite an original feel and some great pure AOR moments.
I am not sure what ingredients have combined to make this record so good, but it just really clicks. The production is first rate, the mix tight, the vocals sensational and above all else, the songs all have originality and a great hook.
Reid can be a dead ringer for James Christian on some tunes. I think opener Somebody Laughs is a prime example. There isn't a dud track on the whole album. But the album doesn't open with the strongest track which works really well. Instead we get this moody mid paced original sounding AOR tune.
Make Your Move increases the tempo just a little, this song smolders along without any real break between the verse and the chorus, another track similar to the James Christian
solo feel (no it's not only just because I just reviewed that album also!).
I love Only Human. Classic pop/AOR. The intro is great - a short build up that ends with a vocal howl - then the track changes feel and tempo totally and rolls along as a great little feel good pop song. Great chorus and change of vocal range half way through.
The song is more uptempo than the opening two tracks, yet much lighter.
Fight On is a ballad of sorts, but more guitar heavy than the first few tracks. Moody and rocking at the same time.
Comin' Of Age is another killer track. Much like Only Human, this song features Reid's raspy vocals over an uptempo pop rocker with a catchy anthem chorus.
Spaceman is a quite unique ballad. It has a slightly psychedelic feel to it - but I am not sure that correctly describes it either. The lyrics are excellent. very cleaver.
Still Want You is familiar in style to some of the tracks from The Storm's debut album. A strong moody ballad with definite classic AOR qualities. A memorable chorus, cool slow guitar solo and a great hook or two.
Long Way To Heaven is another instantly catchy pop rocker. The chorus is a killer AOR hook. While Reid may not have the smoothest vocals in the business, what he does have he uses extremely well. This song is a great example how the mood and feel of his vocals make the song.
Always is a simple, very likable uptempo rock ballad.
Heart So Cold has a somewhat more dominant lead guitar feel. Uptempo without being a barnstormer, the chorus is again easily memorable. Good guitar feel to it.
Tonight ends the album with a monster ballad. Great souring vocals and the added feel of a piano. This is a world class ballad that should become a fan favourite.
And so ends on of the more surprising albums I have reviewed in recent times. Surprising because although expecting a good record, I really wasn't prepared for it to be this good. One of the best albums of the year and one I would recommend to most AOR fans.
ESSENTIAL FOR: Troy Reid and Agent fans, Escape Music fans, lovers of fine AOR & pop rock.
DISCOGRAPHY:Agent . Stranded

b a c k t o i n d e x