Fireworks

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Added by James Gaden     August 20, 2010    
 
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New album from the Bachman Turner Overdrive duo.

 

A rather unlikely union between old partners Randy Bachman and Fred Turner raised some eyebrows when it was announced, and the fact that they decided to work together, make a brand new record and tour again had people pleased, but questioning what the new material would be like. I should know, because when I ended up being the guy to cover the union for Fireworks, that’s exactly what I was thinking.

It all came out of a Randy Bachman solo album... at least, that was the plan. Bachman was writing songs with a view to having guest singers perform, and one particular track made Randy stop and think about Fred Turner, as it would be ‘perfect for his gritty, refrigerator-sized voice’. Turner, who had been retired from music for several years, agreed and the results impressed the pair so much it morphed into a full on reunion album.

This isn’t Bachman Turner Overdrive - the pair decided to simply use their own names rather than tie themselves to their old band and former members. However, it does sound very much like their previous band, which is neither surprising nor unwelcome!

‘Rollin’ Along’ opens proceedings, and it’s straight out of the Overdrive bag of tricks... it’s got Fred’s gritty powerhouse voice, thumping bass line, chunky power chords and a driving beat. It’s in a very similar vein to ‘Roll On Down The Highway’ and shows that despite their time apart, the magic is still very much there between Bachman and Turner. ‘That’s What It Is’ follows with Randy on vocals, and features a more breezy and jazzier chord structure which tips its hat to other BTO classics like ‘Let It Ride’. Follow up track ‘Moonlight Rider’ has an funky feel with another great Turner vocal, and I would imagine most BTO fans would be sold on it by now.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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Definitely worth highlighting is ‘Slave To The Rhythm’ which I am informed has been chosen as a single. This is a classic song with a great up tempo feel and singalong chorus section. I heard them do this live at the warm up show and it was fantastic, and everyone joined in in no time, despite me being one of the only people there to have heard it previously.

It’s not all good news - maybe it’s just me, but the track that Fred was invited to sing on which started this whole thing is ‘Rock And Roll Is The Only Way Out’ which, while having a cool guitar intro, has a real turkey of a verse. It sounds like something Marines would sing when they’re jogging in bad war films, and the chorus is no better. This was given away for free on the Bachman Turner website - and while I think if any song on this record should be given away it’s this one, it’s a poor advertisement for some of the other great stuff on here.

‘Neutral Zone’ or ‘Repo Man’ for example are miles better, both with a ZZ Top feel, and there’s the cool ‘Traffic Jam’ with it’s laid back vibe. That said though, the pair have offered up twelve brand new tracks, and only one didn’t do it for me, which is a pretty damn good ratio. There’s plenty of big guitars, BTO hallmarks and a great, guitar heavy production to suit Overdrive fans, and considering nobody, including Fred Turner, expected an album from he and Randy again, one dud out of twelve means this is a surprising and pleasant return from a pair of rock stalwarts.

James Gaden

 

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