Walking Wild (Jmlp) (Jpn)


aec.mrqj1600918.2 2/25/09 New
$28.89 $33.99

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Review Text If the first album by New England is the band's best musical statement, Walking Wild is where the group could have gone. Todd Rundgren was the perfect choice to help tone down the ostentatious Mike Stone sounds, and the magician from Utopia brings this band a welcome and wonderful blend of progressive music and experimental rock. The very British and very cool "You're There" is the standout; although it never got the attention of the first album's "Don't Ever Wanna Lose Ya," the second album's "Explorer Suite," and this album's single "DDT" ("Dirty Dream Tonight"), it cries for attention and renewed interest. Great pop backing vocals reminiscent of Klaatu's "Calling Occupants" -- a hit for the Carpenters -- make this pure pop song a very satisfying ending to this disc, as creative as Boston area colleagues the Cars at their best. "L-5" is co-written by Todd Rundgren, keyboard player Jimmy Waldo, and singer John Fannon -- the first time Fannon is not credited as the sole songwriter (Rundgren wrote the lyrics, with music by Fannon/Waldo). This is a neat science fiction kind of tune that fans of Todd should seek out. "She's Gonna Tear You Apart" features lyrics by drummer Hirsh Gardner and music by Gardner/Fannon/Waldo -- three-fourths of the band. It's another change in style with a verse almost like one by .38 Special, before the band suddenly slips into a Cars/Roxy Music motif. The perfect example of Rundgren's production work being so distinctive from Mike Stone's is "Elevator," which would almost be punk rock except for the precise big vocal sound and everything being in tune. Fannon's lyrics are succinct and almost angry, from "He's fashionably mad/Rebel eyes/Fearless type/Raging force" on the title track to "Hit me," the first words in "Holdin' Out on Me." The Cars sang "You're All I've Got Tonight," and New England countered with "Be my "Dirty Dream Tonight." Walking Wild has found a new life re-released on the GB Music label out of New York City (www.newenglandrocks.com). A fourth disc by New England (demos recorded prior to the GB Music deal) has been issued on that label as well, along with reissues of the band's first two discs. Four New England albums is not a lot for such a creative bunch of guys. Keyboard player Jimmy Waldo and bassist Gary Shea formed a band called Alcatrazz after the breakup of the group. Had they been able to develop New England's music for a few more records, they might have been a force to reckon with. John Fannon's work with Boston area singer/songwriter Peter Zicko actually has many of the elements that New England forged. Drummer Hirsh Gardner did much production work in the '80s around the Boston area, and perhaps a disc of his material would give New England fans a bit more insight regarding what might've been. ~ Joe Viglione

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