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Warp Drive - 'Something To Believe In' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/aa/39/97/1984_WarpDriveSomethingToBelieveIn_1330633528.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     March 01, 2012    
 
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A patchy release that has enough good songs to make it worth checking out.

The world of rock music is full of amazing coincidences, isn't it? I hadn't listened to or thought about Florida's Warp Drive for probably in excess of ten years, but five minutes after having a conversation about them with someone at last year's Firefest, AOR Blvd label co-owner Paul Rudland handed me this CD. I wasn't completely bowled over by their 1989 debut 'Gimme Gimme', and a recent return to it confirmed that it hasn't really stood the test of time, at least sound-wise.

I don't have any information with this new release so can only assume that the bulk of it is recordings from the early nineties for a proposed second album, and with the band being handled by Blackfoot/Axe manager Al Nalli at the time and Warp Drive leader Mark Woerpel joining one of Rickey Medlocke's later versions of Blackfoot, it's no surprise that the album has again been produced by Medlocke himself with Nalli as executive producer.

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What marred the debut album for me was the fake metallic drum sound and wall of guitar synthesiser arrangements, but thankfully this album is much more organic sounding. Just to make it even more incestuous, the album kicks off with a superb version of the Axe classic 'Rock 'N' Roll Party In The Streets', but as far as I'm aware the rest are all originals. There's plenty of variety on display, with melodic rockers 'We Are The Only Hope' and 'Only Memories' among the highlights with their memorable choruses, 'Fightin' Boyz' with its huge funk-metal groove, and the thumping title track has acoustic guitar parts, massive drums and a rock-out ending, and is probably the best thing here. Others don't quite work as well, especially the frenzied guitar instrumental 'Black Mambo', which is obviously from a different session and is lacking bottom end, 'Let The Good Times Roll', a mid-paced stomper that drags on a bit, and the pointless 'Louie's Demise': one of those annoying soundscapes featuring a capella snippets of other songs fading in and out over atmospheric keyboard chords. Elsewhere a couple of tracks are let down by poorer sound, the otherwise enjoyable 'Lay Me Down' in particular lacking any oomph!

Most of the songs feature the line-up I saw in Toronto in 1990, with Woerpel joined by bassist Cary Kaylan, guitarist Steve Draeger and drummer Jim Winter, whilst two new songs at the end are performed by Woerpel and multi-instrumentalist Brian B. Reidinger and are much more modern sounding. 'Fools Of Faith' manages to be decent despite the processed vocals, and 'Closest Thing To Heaven 2011' is a new version of the song from the Rick Medlocke & Blackfoot album that's ruined by those awful auto-tune vocals.

I'd still be interested to hear what Woerpel and Warp Drive come up with should they create a whole new album, but 'STBI' is a patchy release that has enough good songs to make it worth checking out, even if the best ones are over twenty years old.

Phil Ashcroft

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