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Coastland Ride - 'Coastland Ride' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/61/cd/30/2045_coastlandridecoastlandride_1331925651.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     March 16, 2012    
 
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A solid effort worth seeking out.

Giving this self-titled album its proverbial "first spin," I was pummeled by waves of nostalgia. Although unaware of Coastland Ride but privy to the fact this was a reissue, I was convinced that this was originally released in the mid/late-80's but unable to compete with the bar of excellence set by contemporaries of the day (Toto, Survivor, Foreigner, Journey, etc). Couple that with unfortunate circumstances such as inner-band turmoil, poor timing and/or any number of insalubrious marketing decisions, I could only assume this group met an untimely demise at the unscrupulous hands of the music industry. After all, so many bands suffered a similar fate that record labels (such as Rock Candy) have sprouted and/or have an entire division dedicated to re-releasing lost titles such as this.

Once acquainting my ears with its production, the album grew on me with each successive listen. The music possesses every earmark of authentic 80's Westcoast AOR: DX7-era synth patches, Simmons drum sounds and (despite receiving a remastering) a relatively thin production. You can only imagine my shock and awe when research revealed this album was originally released in 2003! I could not believe how well they were able to harness the style, mood and sound from bands 20 or so years earlier.

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Although they are able to replicate this sound of old with amazing precision, it is this very element that I feel impedes the music with its overly quantized drums and kitschy keyboard sounds (not to mention being spoiled by the pithy and larger-than-life productions these days). While some tracks like 'Never The Same,' Eyes' and 'Second Hand America' all flourish with this retro-sound, others like 'Let Me Let You Go' and 'On The Path Of Greed' suffer. Despite the original album finishing with 'Sleepless,' a beautiful and tender ballad (think Brian Wilson-era Beach Boys and/or the wholly underrated pop bands Jellyfish and Giraffe), the three bonus tracks further enhance the package not only by providing additional value but also fitting in nicely with the vibe of the album's original tracklist.

Coastland Ride's debut is an epic stroll down memory lane and an awesome experiment in the authentic recreation of a sound trumped solely due to the advancement in digital technology. You will undoubtedly be able to draw similarities from all the classic bands of the day: Toto, Survivor, Foreigner, Mike & The Mechanics...even Hall & Oates. However, I feel these songs would have been better represented by a complete re-recording and polished with more modern production techniques.

Although I would not necessarily consider it essential, Coastland Ride's debut is a solid effort and worth seeking out if nothing more than to see how it is done "old school" in the 21st century!

Brent Rusche

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