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ROGER GLOVER 'Mask' Lemon CDLEM53 (2005)

Itís a funny old world out there: a label asks your advice, you recommend a classic album dying to appear on CD and offer to do it, they say they canít license it, then they get it and put it out without telling you, so you end up having to buy it. Very strange.

This is that album, and what a classic it is.

Back in 1984, between Rainbowís dying throws and the Deep Purple reformation, bassist Roger Glover issued what was effectively his third solo album (the previous two being Elements and The Butterfly Ball).

This is no way a hard rock set (in fact Elements had been largely acoustic), with Glover almost wearing a professional mask. Taking a step on from Rainbowís then American sound (this album also features then Rainbow pianist David Rosenthal and drummer Chuck Burgi), this is a fine mixture of new wave pop and AOR.

Opener 'Divided World' kicks off with some keyboards and an upbeat rhythm. Rogerís vocalís are good and suit the music world, but theyíre a far cry from the likes of Gillan - they do sound weak compared to the best but fit the poppier end well. 'Getting Stranger' is another fine pop tune, and the title track is a great listen.

Itís pretty clear on this album that after his bass playing, Rogerís main strengths are song writing, arrangements and production.

'Danciní Again' is the closest we get to anything heavy, itís a fast paced rocker with some decent bursts of guitar and saxophone (a sound that really works), a sound that does make you want to move.

A touch of reggae mixed with the new wave leanings on 'Fake It' give a Police like sound. 'Hip Level' adds a nice and addictive rhythm that you have to tap too and is one of the better tracks.

If youíre after Rainbow or Deep Purple, forget it; this is a finely crafted and well produced mid-80s pop album with a couple of heavy nods. Take it in context and itís a superb album.

*****

Review by Joe Geesin

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly


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JOE GEESIN

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