|MTM MUSIC 199626||1. Modern World 2. Rovianne 3. Scandalous Life 4. Psychoactive 5. Is Everybody Happy? 6. Miss Your Kiss 7. Suzanne 8. Heaven 9. Stanger 10. New Lover 11. Somwhere 12. Lust||
|Total Score 85%||Production 85%||Songs 81%||Vibe 85%||Attitude 79%|
Sahara Snow is the long awaited comeback vechile for AOR legend and all-round rock God Rick Springfield. It is his first release this decade, and also the first time he has used a band name since he began his solo career in 1971.|
The project features long time partner Tim Pierce on guitar, and more recently befriended keyboard/programming/producer Bob Marlette. The trio also worked together on Tim Pierce's solo record 'Guitarland'. Primarily this record is comprised of recordings made from the last few years. The bulk of it comes from studio sessions between 1992 and 1994.
Rick has, this year, been recording a new solo album, and there are a couple of tunes from the new sessions included here. Should his new solo record hold the same amzing quality of these two songs, it could prove to be his best ever.
The record can be broken up into the sessions that it was recorded from.
Modern World, Scandalous Life, Psychoactive, Is Everybody Happy?, Miss Your Kiss, Suzanne, Heaven and New Lover are the product of the original Springfield/Pierce/Marlette sessions. These tracks feature Marlette playing all keyboards and percussion, all guitars by Pierce, and vocals by Springfield. The songs were co-written by the three of them.
You will notice that Rick has no hand in the instrumentation on these tracks, not even guitar. But Marlette and Pierce don't have total control over the sound, there are still some traditional Rick influences. But the bulk of it is heavy guitar and synth controlled dance rock. The lyricas are somewhat bland, but it has to be said these demo's were recorded during Rick's writers block period.
Both Heaven and Modern World are big bombastic guitar driven AOR, either track has the intro to kick off an album. Scandalous Life and Psychoactive are probably the two waekest songs on the album, with somewhat disjointed melodies and structure. Is Everybody Happy? is a strange tune, with a more typical tongue in cheek Rick lyric. The sound is also more familiar. Miss Your Kiss, New Lover and Suzanne are the pick tunes of these sessions. They are very smooth, synth driven dance rock at it's best. The songs flow easier, and the choruses are much catchier. They are probably the most produced songs of these sessions.
Rovianne and Somewhere are colaborations between Rick and another old partner Jeff Silverman. They were recorded at seperate sessions, and feature Rick and Jeff on all instruments and vocals. The tunes are more classic Rick, and are more in comparison with Rock Of Life, the album Jeff helped Rick record. It has to be said that Rivianne, quite possibly has the biggest AOR hook ever! Somewhere is also a killer anthem ballad, with Rick's voice in full command.
Stranger is one of the new tracks. It is not however from the very latest solo album sessions, as Lust is. Stranger features a colaboration with Mark Spiro, who helps out with instruments and co-production. The sound is different from the rest of the record, it is typical Springfield high tech AOR, something like Tear It All Down, off Rock Of Life. It is also a great return to form lyrically, with one of the more angst ridden tracks I have heard since Rock Of Life. This is Rick fighting his demons, at his best.
Lust, for me is the pick of the album. It was the last song recorded before this album was mastered, and comes froma set of songs Rick has recorded for his upcoming solo album. This is vintage Rick Springfield, featuring himself on all vocals and instruments. The lyrics are again amongst the demons, and is the only song on the record Rick wrote alone. Old buddy Bill Drescher is also back to co-produce. The song is guitar driven and upbeat, but features a sound I have never heard from Rick before. Although lyrically dark, it seems a lighter hearted song, which fits in with Rick's description of the new material - dark, but from the lighter side of dark. Fresh and guitar driven if this is a preview of the new record, then hurry and bring it on!
Overall, the album is a little up and down, but a very enjoyable ride. When you are taking songs from various sessions, it is always going to create variances, but they are controled well here. There will be tracks you like more than others, and no doubt you will identify the new tracks as the pick of the album.
But considering these are mainly demo's, I think you will agree, Rick does it with a style and a class that others find hard to reproduce, even with a million dollar producer. (which Rick is anyway!) It is experimental in places, but to see where Rick has landed with the taste of the new tracks, helps me sleep very well at night, while looking forward to the 'proper' comeback album.