|Stan Bush In This Life||Frontiers Records|
There sure are some quality releases around at the moment, so lap them up while you can.|
Stan Bush is another individual that needs no introduction. He remains one of the genre's classic artists, delivering some of the best emotional AOR anthems around, over a period of some 20 years. Seriously, after just reviewing another album for another stalwart of the scene in Joe Lynn Turner, it does make me wonder how many modern rock artists will still be rocking in 20 or 30 years time like these guys still do. Mmm…not too many…they sure don't don't build them like they used to.
In the case of Stan, the man has the perfect voice for melodic rock – that hint of authority when needed, but otherwise dripping with emotion and providing melodies with almost every line sung. His new album In This Life sees him follow up what was deemed to be one of his best ever releases in Shine.
When an artist gets to their 9th all-original studio release, you are generally hard pressed to see them deliver their best work, but the last album and this record are just that. Stan has nailed what it is he should be doing, the style that fans want him to do it in, and most importantly, has delivered a record of 11 perfect AOR songs.
Not every song is an AOR anthem, nor is every track is stuck in a similar groove. This is a really well balanced record with a few ballads; a few killer anthems and some simple mid-paced melodic rockers spread in-between.
It makes you look forward to the next anthem, next ballad, or next rocker while enjoying whatever track is playing at the time.
This is also probably the best sounding Stan Bush record to date – production here is just perfect. Contemporary enough so that the material doesn't sound dated, but at the same time, you just know what decade the heart of the record lies.
Kicking off with the classic Stan Bush styled melodic rocker I'll Never Fall, it is like 1987 all over again, except underneath the familiar vocal is some production tricks that give the song an updated feel. The same can be said of the whole record – there are plenty of swirling 80s keyboard sounds, yet just as many attributes that place the record in a fresh setting.
You just don't get any better than the classic uptempo AOR of Stan Bush on I Got A Thing For You and This Moment, which to me are perfect reminders of Stan's best work on the Stan Bush & Barrage record and Every Beat of My Heart.
Then there are the heartfelt and lush ballads I Can't Cry and The First Time, which are straight out of the 80s soundtrack, lighters-in-the-air handbook.
A triple play of rockers comes late in the album with Long, Long Way showing a little more aggression that Stan normally delivers and Over You is another great rocker with an updated vibe.
Take It All The Way has a commanding presence and a powerful guitar driven chorus.
Then there is In This Life, a song that defines Stan Bush as an artist and instantly becomes one of his best songs ever! Another throw back to the best of his early days, but entirely contemporary at the same time, this song rocks and has a hands in the air chorus to die for.
After a passage featuring the rockiest tracks I can recall from Stan, Southern Rain is a tender and emotional way to close the album – with Stan's voice and an acoustic guitar left alone to deliver the song's message.
I'm raving over several releases this month, but all are truly deserving of the attention and this is certainly one of the best of the best. AOR album of the year?
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