use words like "passion", "radio friendly", "commercial"
Please click here to read all about the Caragan Review - an assessment of the album by a team of highly esteemed music professionals.
a great piece of work by Steve, and really showing his musical talent to
the best effect. Getting Tom Baker on board is a master stroke, and the
record shows great diversity.
It's an album I have no hesitation in recommending.
fantastic. I had it up so loud in the car on the way to the studio this
afternoon. It's brilliant - do not miss it.
The work that you can tell has gone into these songs - and the production quality as well - just phenomenal.
so many bands from the 80s are reforming and remastered copies of CDs from
the same period flesh out the present mainstream market, there seems to
be also a distinct presence of 80s pop/rock styles and idioms even amongst
the new releases (at the time of writing, that is!!).
Stephen James's debut album `Andabrek' is an exquisitely well-timed release as it ventures into that sound world but let it be said that this is far from being a case of jumping on the band wagon. Yes, the songwriting is predominantly keyboard-based and combined with Stephen's dramatic vocal performances there are strong suggestions of styles which combine Howard Jones, Elton John and Barry Manilow (particularly during the more downtempo ballads such as 'Your Work Is Done', 'See You Tonight' and 'Be There'). But, aside from that and the electronic drive and tight programming of percussion effects in tracks such as 'Digital Destiny' (which is more than likely to keep fans of Thomas Dolby's early 80s music happy) the rest of it is less easy to classify....this is particularly evident as the epic instrumental 'Megamorphosis' begins with such ethereality (augmented handsomely as it is by the rich tones of `timelord favourite' Tom Baker) before plummetting forth into such rhythmic fury that it is enough to send you and your car stereo spinning off the road with excitement! Below the pop-infused surface of the music, there are more serious messages in the lyrics which explore familiar themes to do with the woes of modern society such as alienation, machinisation and entrapment (signified by the album sleeve imagery itself) but the album's conclusion is happily not as doomladen as it may be originally thought!
In summary, `Andabrek' is an album which manages to combine thickly-layered, complex arrangements with more direct radio-friendly songs and yet manages to flow smoothly from start to finish. Combined with a strong message through the spine of the album's eleven songs....and yes, a touch of 80s sheen....this occupies a unique place among the latest CD releases of 2009.