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Monday, October 18, 2010

Stan Bush - Dream the Dream album review

Stan Bush – Dream the Dream album review
Released on: Frontiers Records (Europe), LA Records (USA)
Release date: Available now everywhere.

So OK class, who can tell me who Stan Bush is? Someone shouts, 'Wasn’t he the guy with the hit single from the original animated Transformers movie?' Yes, that would be correct, but … Someone else calls out, ‘Don’t you know anything? The song was 'The Touch' and it's a great rock song! Stan Bush has also released 13 albums including his Best of back in 1999. He even won an Emmy Award in 1997 for ‘Best Original Song’ with ‘Til I Was Loved By You’ and he’s done countless tracks for movies and TV shows.’

OK, so that wasn’t / isn’t a true scenario but it most certainly could and probably should be and all this by the way, has been going on since 1983’s release of his first album, ‘Stan Bush.’

This guy seriously writes class melodic rock / AOR, call it what you will in a not dissimilar style to say great guitarist / singer songwriters Jeff Paris and even Michael Bolton (On his day ...), before the latter guy totally wimped out and sold his soul to whatever form of cabaret would pay him best. Sad for M.B. bt not so for Stan Bush who still has much to offer.
Here’s the thing, if you like Stan Bush already or Toto, Journey, Foreigner, Newman, Survivor, Jeff Paris and similar acts, chances are you’ll most likely enjoy this release.

Stan Bush can really write great songs, he sings well even at times here getting up where Bobby Kimball reaches and that speaks volumes!
I have really enjoyed listening to this album and keep going back to it, in between other stuff I’m trying to address reviews on.
So, here’s the breakdown!

Opening track ‘Never Hold Back’ is just sweet up tempo AOR, smoothly crafted melodic hook laden rock, although can’t help thinking ‘that’ little riff in there reminds me of AC/DC’s ‘Thunderstruck,’ but other than that the song provides a great vocal performance and musical bliss. Nice opener.

Mid paced ‘I’m Still Here’ once more continues the AOR joyride. Steady basic yet punchy chords heavily surrounded by multiple layers of sound, back up Stan’s great vocals. To ignore this release is crazy. I love it!

‘Don’t Give Up On Love’ almost reminds me of Bad English with the intro, then the verse is a chug along steady laid back slow pop rocker before launching into a huge chorus and yes, I will say it, Stan reaches peaks ala Bobby Kimball here at times. Some really nice guitar work here and throughout the album so far.
Now I’m sure artists absolutely hate when I draw comparisons to other acts and I really don’t mean it in any derogatory sense whatsoever. I simply try to give fans of this style of music what kind of vein the style of album is as a guideline. It is the case for me with next track, ‘Two Heart’s.’ Can you imagine Bobby Kimball sharing lead vocals with Stan Bush and fronting Foreigner, with an up tempo pop rocker. It’s just great stuff, it really is and provides an album of classic AOR / Melodic rock to please almost any fan of this style of music.

Stan has gone and produced another great power ballad in the track ‘In My Life,’ that’s written in the same style as the song he wrote, that House of Lords had some minor success with in ‘Love Don’t Lie’ and it’s full of all the same textures. Wonderful!

‘Love Is The Road,’ although starting as more of a mid paced pop rocker, has an excellent if brief little solo break in it and the song is full of ‘Na na na’s' and ‘woah woah woah’s' choruses …, so it’s clearly chart oriented.

With next track, ‘If This Is All There Is,’ the song starts with a little nod to Bryan Adam’s ‘Run To You,’ but it grows from there with a few edgy riffs and some punchy power chords into the chorus and of course huge vocals. Love the little all too short dirty bridge about midway through, before the song comes back the big choruses and then that dirty guitar sound is back towards the end and Holger Fath totally rips things up on guitar as the song plays out, in a similar style to something like Steve Lukather would pull off. Love it!

I’ve seen some reports that although this is a good album, it’s nothing new … Well, I’d say that depends on two things perhaps, a) how much you’ve listened to Stan Bush before and b) how much you like this style of music and don’t want it to go away!

Title track and epic ‘Dream the Dream’ is next and this is immense! Stan, you are the man! This track just builds and simply grows and gets very involved and yes, that includes some really excellent playing again in the solo. Keep this up Stan, sounds good to me.

‘More Than A Miracle’ is steady, punchy little number with the production mix sounding dare I say, even a little Queen like in places and then some. Nice change / bridge mid way through and then back again.

A more modern janglely rock sound starts ‘Your Time’ next and has a very much more up to date radio friendly sound, I guess that could, should get Stan some current radio airplay. It’s another up tempo pop rocker that deserves to be heard for sure.
Back to the more traditional Stan Bush sound in ‘All That I Am’ that’s borderline AOR power ballad meets pop rocker, with some almost Beatles like moments in the bridge. It’s still good by me!

Closing the album, Stan revisits his best known work, in ‘Sam’s Theme (The Touch)’ but it’s oh ..., so different …
Very strange but interesting … Starting very laid back before then crunching riffs kick in for the chorus, but in a very different way to the original. It’s almost dare I say, like Linkin Park …!
It’s been rearranged and sung very differently and at first I didn’t know what to make of it, but you know what Stan has done here isn’t that far away from what Winger did to surprise people with their latest album ‘Karma’ and how they mixed up some great AOR with some more darker edgy stuff. Well Stan has done just that with this track. It’s grown on me and I can’t blame Stan for wanting to do this.

Overall for me, this for me is an album that I have enjoyed and still enjoy popping on in the car, in between trying to listen to and appreciate other things in for review. For me this is something that’s great to hear in the car and would cool to hear live, but what chance on that front – Playing live shows. – is obviously down to the main man, Stan Bush and how well no doubt the album is received.

According to the sleeve notes, Stan sings all the lead and backing vocals and has again left the guitar work to Holger Fath.
Is that right, no guitars for you Stan? Come on Stan, rip it up a little yourself too on the next one! Share the guitar work with Holger next time, it'll be more killer still! Holger Fath by the way also once again provided all the keyboard work here and produced the album for Stan, as he's done before! - These two seem brothers in arms now. The rhythm section is made up of the much traveled Matt Bissonette on bass and the drums handled by Matt Laug.
I really do recommend this album and I think it is great listening!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
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