|101 South No U-Turn||AOR Heaven|
Another incredibly hard review for me to write as founding member, songwriter and keyboardist Roger Scott Craig is a wonderful guy and a strong advocate for musician's rights and anti-downloading laws. And between the bands Fortune, Harlan Cage and 101 South, he has recorded some world class AOR music that to this day I still enjoy. For me the pinnacle was Harlan Cage's Forbidden Colours.|
The side project from HC was 101 South, featuring vocalist Gregory Lynn Hall. The two albums preceding this one featured a slicker, softer sound than Harlan Cage, but with that same moody overtone. The new album No U-Turn keeps that style in tact, but falls a long way short of its predecessors due to seriously below par production quality.
End Of The Game, From What You Know Now and When You're In Love are prime examples of what could have been with a better sound.
The vocals are up front in the mix, but Hall sounds a lot rougher than I remember him being. Very raspy this time around. Musically, the instrumentation lacks punch and the drums are really placid, rather than being the driving force behind the music.
There are still some highlights on offer – the seriously good classic moody, mid-tempo AOR of Lonely Heart for one. Just wish it had a bigger sound behind it.
What Are You Gonna Do Anyway could have been pomp anthem of the year if given the full production treatment previous albums received.
Yesterday's Gone is another uptempo track with comparisons to Harlan Cage, but the programmed drums and the guitars buried in the back of the mix just destroy it.
The great Chris Thompson takes over lead vocals for the haunting ballad Blue Skies, which is one of the stronger songs of the album.
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