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8-is - 'Frame Of Us' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/38/d6/cb/1059_8isframeOfUs_1299093679.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     March 02, 2011    
 
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Quite an impressive offering that should appeal to all fans of prime time 80s AOR.

Italy has thrown up some excellent bands in the last two years, with a lot due to their association with mainstay record label Frontiers, while some outfits manage to gain appeal through their own means. One of those is new Rome based band 8-Is. Unusual name it might be, and simplistic too, but these guys live at the town square of Italian AOR, were formed in Rome during the early part of 2009, and were originally called Frame. Singer Marcello Catalano and drummer Franco Casini were the two principal members alongside guitarist Rob Franzo, and while the band took shape, membership of personnel came and went and Franzo exited the band to be replaced by Milone. Franco's brothers came in on supporting roles for bass and keys and the band underwent a name change to 8-Is. They have delivered quite an impressive album and are clearly influenced very heavily by mid 80s AOR, and singer Marcello Catalano has a very good voice and sounds similar to Stephan Kaemmerer from German faves Frontline. 

From the very first opening melodic strains of "here comes the thunder..." on the first track, 'Everlasting Love',it's apparent these guys know what they're on about, and 'I'll Be There', which is a mid tempo power ballad, rears it's head as soon as track two with the great piano lines that AORsters crave listening to within this genre. 'Lady' is perhaps the quintessential AOR track on the album.. pumping bass lines, synth flurries and warm guitar parts.. it's all here, also check out the monster synths on the prowling 'The Final Curtain'. My personal favourite on the album is 'Fallin' In Your Eyes', with its up-tempo and happy vibe, which along with the vocal melodies keeps pushing ahead of the musical wave, and then there's the OTT guitar solo which adds to the overall package.

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Also worth mentioning is the awesome west coast/AOR sound of 'On And On', and is a real hark-back to the 80's, and the acoustic and organic sounds of 'If You Turn Around' reminds me of a jangly west coast/mid west amalgamation. 'In My Life' retains a lot of energy from the previous song but is played with a racier edge, and reminds of to Aussie AORsters 'Southern Sons' with the neat synth sequences through the middle that would have you thinking this is an 80's song. Reverting back to a cool bluesier west coast sound with 'Back To You', Catalano really does sound like Stephan Kaemmerer from 'Frontline', and finally the piano ballad 'Tomorrow Comes Tonite' brings this fine album to a close. So there you have it, quite an impressive offering that should appeal to all fans of prime time 80s AOR.

Mark Warburton

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