Track Listing
Real Life (1)
Stronger
We Live For Love
What's It Gonna Take? (2)
Silver White
Overdrive
Find Your Place
All Your Heart
Hold Me
When Will It Be Love?
How Can I Be Sure?
Always And Forever (Godz)
Believe (3)

(*) Best Tracks

Discography
Drive She Said
Drivin' Wheel
Excelerator
Road To Paradise
Real Life

Buy it if you like:
Terry Brock - Back To Eden
The Sign
Drive She Said
DRIVE SHE SAID
Real Life
Frontiers Records FRCD 140
Produced By: Mark Mangold & Al Fritsch
Running Time: 63.07 Release Date: March 24
Released: EU Genre: AOR
WebLink: Indigo LabelLink: Frontiers
90%

Keyboard maestro Mark Mandold has reunited with his partner in crime Al Fritsch for a new Drive She Said record.
This is the guy's first in several years, if you leave out the Road To Paradise Best Of, which was one of Frontiers Records' first releases.
Drive She Said have always been a very 80's keyboard/AOR based act, with their music drenched in Mangold's masterful piano/keyboard and organ tones and Fritsch's naturally melodic vocals.
A re-union of the duo for a new album should therefore capture the legacy of what the band were previously loved for. And that is exactly why Real Life is a very good record. The guys pick up exactly where they left of, producing another album of 80's styled, keyboard driven power rock ballads, mixed with uptempo AOR.
But DSS were never a simple band - so many AOR acts keep things pretty simple. But with a songwriter like Mark Mangold even the simplest tune can take on another dimension. That's what gives the music of DSS extra impact. It's foundation lies in that well known formula for commercial 80's keyboard driven AOR, but the additional layers and hidden melodies that reveal themselves with each additional listen give the album a bigger impact and sense of originality.
They certainly have their own style. For that reason, any established fans of the band will love this comeback.
The opening track Real Life is a stunning mid-tempo AOR track. The opening vocals of Al Fritsch and the subtle keyboard riff make it an instantly memorable anthem, taking the listener back to the glory days.
Stronger is just as good. The song has a more uptempo and familiar feel, but those added dimensions keep you coming back for more.
We Live For Love is a classic power ballad and What's It Gonna Take lifts the tempo with a fine pomp filled feel good rock track.
The second half of the album is a little more diverse, which sees the band occasionally step a little outside their established boundaries.
Example of this can be found in Overdrive, which is a very rough and raw retro rocker; Hold Me, which is a very moody mid-tempo track and How Can I Be Sure and Always And Forever, which are both fairly epic and pompous in feel, relying on a more retro 70's feel than the 80's sound of much of the rest of the album.
The closing track Believe (a mid tempo feel good pop/rock ballad) sound like it could have been recorded for Chicago 18 - a great tribute the classic AOR sound many of us love.
It's a fairly long album for the genre it represents. A few songs clock in at over 5 minutes, which might just be pushing the musical limits of those tracks.

The Bottom Line
Above all things, the songs contained on Real Life are all very well written, contain all the necessary hooks, plus additional melodies that make repeat listening a pleasure.
The style may not appeal to all, especially as this isn't 1988, but on the basis of being familiar with what readers of this site like, I doubt anyone will be disappointed to hear that this is a classic AOR album, with a style from the past, but a heart from today.
Anyone who knows the band would have expectations and the band deliver on those in fine style.

Line Up
Al Fritsch: Vocals, Guitar, Bass
Mark Mangold: Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Jonathan Mover: Drums

Additional Ratings
Songwriting
93%
Attitude
88%
Production
89%

AOR Heaven NEH Records Z-Roxx Loud 1 Hot Tracks Target Wishing Well Loud Metal Perris Rock Rarities


01/06/03: Dan MacDonald - dan_mac62@hotmail.com
Rating: 60
I wasn't really familiar with this band so I read some positive reviews & decided to give it a chance,after listening to it I realised some of the previous reviews were right, with better production it could have really good instead of mediocre,it sounds like one of those bands you seen in the 70's & were blown away by them live but then you bought the album & it really sounded flat & was disappointing.You can hear the talent & potential,but.......
Dan

07/04/03: ANDY - andy.coates2@ntlworld.cim
Rating: 90
Overall a good album with a couple of standout tracks such as stronger, whats it gonnna take,real life and my fave at the moment ALWAYS AND FOREVER.The only downside for me is that the production lacks that little extra punch that could have lifted the album from very good too a classic.

03/04/03: Freddy De Keyzer - freddydekeyzer@hotmail.com
Rating: 82
Drive She Said has always been one of my fave AOR bands and Mark Mangold is a genius. But this CD is a bit disappointing for me. The songs are not as strong as they used to be and the production is indeed a bit flat. A producer could do miracles ! In comparison with their classic debut and their compilation this is of a lower level. Still good, but not the classic I expected. I have to be honest !

25/03/03: Chris E - cpeaton@hotmail.com
Rating: 20
I have waited a long time for this album, and simply could not wait to hear it. Mangold has been a hero of mine since i first heard the 'Powerhouse' album back in 79, and he still is. This latest DSS album does absolutely nothing for me, the magic has gone without doubt. Where are all the monster choruses and hooks, there simply isnt any. The production is as flat as you can get, and Al's vocals are week and very strained. I was hoping desperately for the magic to return after the dissapointing 'Excelerator' album, but my hopes have been dashed. If you are hoping for the DSS of the 1st 2 albums, and hoping to be blown into AOR heaven once again,by this once incredible twosome, then you are in for the biggest dissapointment for many a long day. Stay clear.

05/03/03: JasonR - papa_bear70@hotmail.com
Rating: 95
...Andrew nails this album! I never liked their earlier albums much to be honest. But this CD is immense.
Highlights for me include the Purple 'Overdrive', the glorious harmonies on 'Hold Me' & 'We Live For Love'.
AOR fans - go get this album, you'll have not heard a better album (mayber bar On the Rise) in the last few months.


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