Sunday, December 18, 2011

Airrace - Back To The Start

Formed in 1982, Airrace began a journey into rock that would include mile markers like their 1984 debut album, Shaft Of Light, and being the first band to launch drummer Jason Bonham's career.  Despite strong reviews and support slots for Queen, AC/DC, Krokus, Ted Nugent and Meat Loaf, the band imploded the following year.  In 2009, a few new members joined the band for reunion shows supporting the 25th anniversary of Shaft Of Light.  With an overwhelming reaction by fans, the group has recorded their long-awaited sophomore effort, Back To The Start.

Power-chord rock anthems return as Airrace open this disc with the uplifting "Keep On Going."  "Two Of A Kind" reminds me of digging into ice cream.  The first bite zings your tongue and makes you go back for more.  But by the time you get a scoop of the chorus... it's another flavor and the initial shock catches you off guard.  By the time you finish the bowl, you enjoyed the whole experience and wondered why you were caught off guard in the first place.  This could be the separation between the fullness of Keith Murrell's vocals and the sticky-sweet chorus vocal harmonies.  "When Baby" is my sleeper.  It's a hit yet to come and I would love to be there to tell someone... "Yeah, I called that one!"  "So Long" grabs you with a marching beat yielding to a near "Eye Of The Tiger" rhythm that then blossoms into one of the album's best tracks.  Love the bluesy feel of "Better Believe It" as well.  "Just One Kiss," "Wrong Way Out," "Enough Of Your Loving," "What More Do You Want From Me" and the Foreigner-esque "Call Me Anytime" also stand out on this release. 

Someone always wins in an air race and I believe that here it will be rock listeners.  Back To The Start is where fans will be going after their first run of the album.  Addictive and infectious, it builds on itself as the listener adds the new information they missed the first time around. Murrell, guitarist Laurie Mansworth and keyboardist Toby Sadler are at the top of their game here with their new line-up and I can't wait to hear what's next.

4 out of 5

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