February 17 at 9:21 AM ·
𝐍𝐞𝐰 𝐄𝐧𝐠𝐥𝐚𝐧𝐝 – 𝐍𝐞𝐰 𝐄𝐧𝐠𝐥𝐚𝐧𝐝
(𝟏𝟗𝟕𝟗) [𝟐𝟎𝟐𝟑 𝐑𝐞𝐢𝐬𝐬𝐮𝐞, 𝐑𝐞𝐦𝐚𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐞𝐝, 𝐋𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐁𝐨𝐧𝐮𝐬 𝐓𝐫𝐚𝐜𝐤𝐬]
𝐑𝐨𝐜𝐤 𝐂𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐲 𝐑𝐞𝐜𝐨𝐫𝐝𝐬
Pretty much everyone I know is acutely aware of the fact that New England is my favourite band, so with this recent Rock Candy reissue (complete with six bonus live tracks) I just couldn’t resist giving my two penn'orth worth on it.
Initially released in 1979 on the much, at the time heralded Infinity Records label, New England made quite an impact with their US top 40 single “Don’t Ever Wanna Lose Ya” and a prestigious support slot on the KISS Dynasty tour, but that initial impact was pretty much stopped in its tracks when Infinity Records went under later that same year, and the band eventually relocated to Elektra Records, but that story is for another day.
This, the band’s debut album, was the result of many years of hard work, making various demo tapes along the way before a bidding war between a host of major labels saw Ron Alexenburg’s Infinity label win out and coupled with heavyweight management from Bill Aucoin (KISS, Starz etc) everything was set fair.
This quite dazzling debut album gives us ten tracks of sumptous Melodic Hard Rock with a pinch of Progressiveness and Power Pop...Wow!!
“Hello, Hello, Hello” is a sparkling opener that tells you a lot of the bands influences came from the British bands of yesteryear and is a beautifully crafted number with an infectious melody and gorgeous harmonies.
That makes way for what is now generally seen as New England’s signature tune “Don’t Ever Wanna Lose Ya” which positively soars into the stratosphere with a brilliant riff and an impassioned vocal from John Fannon, but the rest of the band play their collective parts too quite brilliantly, and not just on this track but throughout the album.
Hirsh Gardner’s dynamic drumming and fine vocals coupled with Gary Shea’s Chris-Squire-like bottom end makes for one of the great rhythm sections and that is topped off by Jimmy Waldo’s beautifully tasteful keyboards with the mellotron in particular being used to maximum effect.
The album continues with the frantic, insistent “P.U.N.K (Puny Undernourished Kid)” before the first of two ballads on the album feature.”Shall I Run Away” demonstrates just what a superb songwriter John Fannon is, his ear for a melody is really second to none and a sublime arrangement takes this song onto a whole new level.
“Alone Tonight”, which was the bands concert opener back in the day, again highlights their uncanny knack for delivering scintillating hard driving rock, but never losing that all important melodic edge.
“Nothing To Fear” opens up side two (in old money) and delivers in spades. This is New England at their majestic best where all the bands elements coalesce into something that simply defies belief. Hirsh Gardner shares lead vocals on this and it gives the song that extra special something.
“Shoot” is a storming Deep Purple/Sweet tinged slice of hard rock, and the second album ballad “Turn Out The Light” is a stunning exercise in how to retain power whilst still conveying a touching message.
The final two songs “The Last Show” and “Encore” are a two part act which are grandiose in their execution and tell the tale of the trials and tribulations of being a rock band on the road.
The album is produced by Mike Stone (Queen, Asia, Journey) and Paul Stanley from KISS, and both bring different qualites to the table. Mike Stone and his previous intricate engineering with Queen makes the album excel in the harmonies and arrangement departments whereas Paul Stanley illicites some stellar performances from the band.
This release is made all the better with the inclusion of the much sought after Infinity Live Promotional album that was issued around the same time as the main album itself. Back then this type of album was used extensively by American Radio Stations to raise awareness of bands such as New England and it showcases just what an incredible live band New England were(are?).
The bands overall sound is definitly harder than on record and allows for them to extend songs such as “Shall I Run Away” and “Nothing To Fear” and therefore allows all four group members to demonstrate what great musicians they are.
This package is tastefully put together by Rock Candy with extensive liner notes from ex Kerrang! scribe Dave Reynolds and tells the story of what was happening in the New England camp in the run up to and subsequent release of what just might be the greatest debut album of all time...Hyperbole?...surely not!!
Hashtags #MelodicRock #AOR #ProgressiveRock #PowerPop
Copyright: Albumsphere (2023)
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