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STRANGEWAYS Reissues Rock Candy (2011)


Formed in 1979 by brothers bassist David and guitarist / songwriter Ian J Stewart (both ex china White), this Glasgow based band released their eponymous debut in 1986, and is a prime slice of post NWoBHM melodic hard rock that verges on pomp and AOR.

But this isn't the FM AOR that America was churning out - this is a chunkier crunchier melodic rock that just about falls under the AOR banner. Think early Def Leppard, Tobruk, Heavy Pettin' kind of thing. Tony Liddle's vocals are superb, and the keyboards fit in well. Keys and guitar alike, whether riffing or soaring solos, it's all good stuff.

The album Strangeways received great reviews, as did the single 'Close To The Edge'. It is, however, a little clunky in places. ***½

Liddle left soon after the album's release, and his replacement being American Tony Brock who, as the sleevenotes rightly point out, had the voice of an angel. And with the keyboards much more in the background on 1988's Native Sons, the emphasis was much more on guitar harmonies and smooth vocals.

A far more polished sounding album that is definitely an AOR classic. Kerrang awarded it 5K, no mean feat. ****

1989's Walk The Fire was a tad heavier, like combining the first two albums, it's got everything from hook, melodies, riffs and polish. ****

Sadly, despite all the touring and rave reviews the band never broke the big time. Travesty.

All three albums come well packaged and with bonus tracks - essential AOR.

Review by Joe Geesin

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***** 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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