|Blue Tears The Innocent Ones||AOR Heaven|
Blue Tears are back – in name at least. |
The famous Blue Tears debut saw the band attract a fan base that would follow them long after the dust had settled on their one and only album.
As unreleased demos and rarities leaked over the years, they became a hot ticket item and were heavily traded and even sold at high prices via E-bay.
In 2003 Gregg Fulkerson resurfaced fronting the more modern rock aligned Attraction 65. Their debut album was immaculately produced and deserved wider attention, but the hard core Blue Tears fans were left wishing for a return of the old sound.
In 2005 Gregg dealt with the increasing issue of bad sounding BT bootlegs and signed to Suncity Records Australia for a set of CDs that saw those old classic tracks released finally in CD quality.
With the enthusiasm for getting those tracks into the public domain came a desire to return to the classic Blue Tears sound with a brand new record. The Innocent Ones is the result.
This is an album of 14 tracks that does – for the most part – return to the classic style and concept that Blue Tears originally was.
The big choruses, the Def Leppard style instrumentation and the Bon Jovi/Bruce Springsteen influenced lead vocal all make a welcomed comeback. But, there is one key ingredient of the original release missing. The big production.
Yes, the songs sound big – that's their nature and the way they are delivered and yes, the strength of most of the songs featured here is not in dispute. But the album's production leaves a lot to be desired. At times it sounds like the music was rushed and feels incomplete.
Perhaps it is the lack of any real drums on the album that is the worst offending point. The programmed drum machine sadly sounds like a machine most of the time. The drum sound becomes very repetitive and when a big burst of energy is required for the songs, the programmed beats just don't do the songs justice.
Additionally the mix is very poor. The music in general and especially some guitar parts sound a little hollow and besides the lead vocal, nothing quite sounds like it used to.
This pains me to say. I'll be honest and say that Gregg is a good guy, a friend and someone that I respect a great deal as a writer and a musician. And I don't doubt for a second that he will be very unhappy to read these views.
But it is what it is.
Sound issues aside, the album still offers some very fine songs. As stated, I respect Fulkerson's writing talent and think there is a lot of love out there for his guitar fuelled anthems of Americana, delivered in style that mixes anthemic Bon Jovi with a heartfelt New Jersey Springsteen down-to-earthness.
The album opens with perhaps the strongest song of all the new ones. Drive was born to be an album opener. Designed to be played as loud as possible while flying down the highway, the song definitely brings back memories of the 1990 debut.
Let It Rain is a little darker and certainly moodier. It features a catchy chorus and a cool guitar solo. Musically it is the missing piece between classic Blue Tears and Attraction 65.
Run For Your Life and Fast Times are both 80s influenced rockers, while The Innocent Ones is a more reflective acoustic driven melodic rocker with a great chorus and a moody lead vocal.
Save Yourself is a solid ballad, but its the big ballad All The Way Home that could easily have been a track on the Attraction 65 record and features a great lead vocal and a little extra production.
The uptempo rocker She Wants To Be A Star strangely sounds louder than the rest of the album and suffers from a rough vocal.
Gloryland matches the intensity of the opening track with its Springsteen styled fist pumping theme.
Money To Burn is also a little rough, but the organ throughout gives it an earthy feel. The feel good chorus would certainly work live.
Unrequited Love closes the album – this is a moody, passionate ballad featuring only Gregg's voice and a piano. It works well.
I loved Attracion 65. It was one of my top ranking albums of 2003. What I would have liked to see was the effort and production values put into that album, brought over to the songs written for this album.
The combination of the two would have made this album an absolute stand out in the world of melodic rock. As it stands, this will merely be a collection of great songs that haven't been done the justice they deserve due to a poor production sound.
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