|The Ladder Future Mircales||Escape Music|
Steve Overland has had a busy year. Earlier on he starred on a very fine AOR record called Shadowman – a project with Heartland's Steve Morris and the Thunder duo of Harry James and Chris Childs.|
This time around Steve is partnered with his former FM buddy Pete Jupp (drums), Dare and Ten guitarist Vinny Burns and bassist Bob Skeat.
Additional guitar and keyboard parts are again supplied by Steve Morris, who also produces.
This release is the perfect companion to the Shadowman release – which was warmly received by fans. This is also an essential addition to any FM collection, as the songs of The Ladder are all former FM songs that were never used back in the day.
Some may argue that they weren't used at the time because they weren't good enough – but one listen to this will demonstrate that clearly isn't the case. I am not overly worried by the origins of any song – just as long as the song holds it's own in the present and as long as it still has a great hook.
That's definitely the case here – these are some fine pure AOR tracks – all freshly recorded and arranged in 2004 for this release.
Musically speaking, the sound is almost identical to that of Shadowman. But I did raise the issue of pacing with that album. The Ladder is a superior release as not only is it perfectly produced and mixed, but it also varies the pace and tempo throughout, offering a selection of songs that work well together and provide a very smooth listen.
Track By Track:
Like Lovers Do is an uplifting way to start any album. This uptempo pop/AOR track features a great guitar hook and a relaxed vocal guide the listener to a catchy and memorable chorus.
Closer to Your Heart is a moodier track, featuring a more urgent vocal and another good chorus. Some delicate guitar parts open the song, but that builds to an enjoyable solo and a bigger finish.
Do You Love Me Enough is the first ballad for the album and won't disappoint fans of Overland's soulful rock voice. Some well placed harmony vocals add extra texture.
Dangerous is a harder edged song of some 6 minutes in length. The mid-to-uptempo rocker features a subtly but effective chorus which adds extra keyboard melodies.
Baby Blue is another mid-tempo track, but is has a different feel than Dangerous – this being a more soulful AOR number.
All I Ever Wanted is a breezy mid-tempo pop song that could have had a stronger chorus, but it fits the album perfectly.
Time For Changes is a great acoustic driven track that is joined by electric guitar and features another soulful vocal and song hook.
Say It Like It Is changes the album tempo again to a more uptempo melodic rock feel.
When Tomorrow Comes is another ballad, but different than Do You Love Me Enough. This is a moody mid-tempo ballad with some fine acoustic guitars and a soulful heart.
Too Bad closes the album by rocking out a little. Another good uptempo number, this rocker has a simple, but effective chorus and features more of the very fine backing vocals used throughout much of the album.
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