CD Reviews

Foreigner - 'Acoustique' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     November 07, 2011    
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New acoustic album by Foreigner.

After years of inactivity due to uncertainty over their future, Foreigner are still keen to make up for lost time with yet another release, coming hot on the heels of their studio album 'Can't Slow Down' and their live DVD 'Rocking at the Ryman'. This time the band bring us something Kelly Hansen told me (in Fireworks 46) they were looking at doing: an acoustic record. Normally, I wouldn't have been that fussed - acoustic records are nice but it's very rare I pick them over their normal studio album counterparts. However, I did have high hopes for this, after the spectacular acoustic version of 'Say You Will' that Foreigner has been performing in concert.

The good news is, Foreigner has kept that blueprint in mind for these versions. 'Acoustique' brings unplugged versions of many Foreigner classics and most work extremely well. 'Long, Long Way From Home' is one such example; the sound isn't as sparse as the one guitar/one voice efforts of Whitesnake's 'Starkers In Tokyo' or as full sounding as the likes of KISS on MTV Unplugged - it sits somewhere in between. 'Cold As Ice' is very well suited to this format, sounding just as impressive as the original without compromising the idea of doing it acoustically. 'Double Vision' has some fine percussion work that lifts it, and 'Fool For You Anyway' is superb, matching the feel of the recently re-recorded version.

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The aforementioned version of 'Say You Will' has been recreated here while Mick steps up for lead vocals on 'Starrider'. This is one of my least favourite Foreigner songs, but I like this version best. Thom Gimbel (flute) is much more to the fore and Mick's gentle voice fits a lot better with the acoustic backing. 'Waiting For a Girl Like You' is tailor made for this setting, but even better is the phenomenal version of 'Feels Like The First Time'. Kelly Hansen has absolutely reinvigorated this band. He owns everything on here, and his harmonies with Jeff Pilson are superb. 'Juke Box Hero' rounds out the standards to which 'The Flame Still Burns' and a fun version of Elvis Presley's 'That's All Right' have been added.

As a bonus, there’s a full band recording called 'Save Me'. While it starts off okay, I can't really get into it and found it a bit forgettable. There's also a normal electric version of 'I Want To Know…’ with Kelly on vocals and 'When It Comes To Love' from 'Can't Slow Down' tacked on as pretty pointless, non-acoustic bonus tracks - the latter is the same as the original album version. An expanded version called 'Acoustique And More' is available, offering a second disk of Foreigner classics, re-recorded in the studio with this line up plus DVD of a live performance. Despite my misgivings regarding the bonus tracks, I think the pros far outweigh the cons. The acoustic songs are very well done and bear all the class that made Foreigner so popular in the first place.

James Gaden

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