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REGATTA - REGATTA (1989, RCA/BMG) Chris Smith - vocals, guitars
Matthew Gerrard - bass, vocals
Greg Critchley - drums
Like many Canadian bands, these guys would be reasonably well known at home, but everywhere else they'd be virtually unknown. A great radio oriented rock trio these guys are, following on in the clean cut footsteps of fellow Canucks Glass Tiger and Bryan Adams. Their music is punchy and is predominantly bright all the way through. It's aimed squarely at the pop/middle of the road audience, no surprises, and a pleasant workout all round. It has a British feel to it, a la Level 42 and Go West, no doubt due to the rhythm section of Gerrard and Critchley (formerly with the Partland Brothers, Spoons and FM). For a three piece they capture quite a very full sound, not a bad achievement all things considered. The songs are a hybrid of pure pop oriented affairs with brass keyboard stabs, of which there are some harder rockin' numbers which the AOR boys will rub their hands with glee. At the time there were a number of Canadian bands plying this road, a la World On Edge, GNP, New Regime, Eight Seconds, Diamond In The Rough, and the aforementioned Glass Tiger. It might seem a little contrived, or perhaps a corporatized view of melodic rock that all of these bands came out at the same time and sounded somewhat similar. For what it's worth, you can't blame the bands, blame the labels, they were the ones that signed them!
As for Regatta, well I like this album a lot, and there are numerous songs on here which stand out. The brilliant opening duet of 'Wherever You Run' and more especially 'Is This Love', one of my personal fave songs of 1989. 'Give Me A Sign' is overly poppy, while 'Matter Of Time' provides the obiquitious slow burn ballad. Matt Gerrard gets an opportunity to emulate Mark King (Level 42) with his bass popping antics on what is a high tech workout on 'Heartbreaker'. Regatta swing on an upbeat mode with the crass sounding 'Wild Girls' while they take a stab at Go West type pop with 'Confidential Information'. Another highlight is towards the end of the album 'I Will Be There', locking in on the style of melodic rock/pop played by another UK band The Believers.
The guys only released this one album, though have moved onto other projects, most notably Gerrard who joined forces with Mladen Haze and Mike Shotton to form Von Groove in 1992, while Critchley has been sighted on other projects since this album, including working with Hanna Montana/Miley Cyrus - the 21st century teen pop queen!
01 Wherever You Run
02 This Is Love
03 Give Me A Sign
04 Matter Of Time
06 Wild Girls
07 Confidential Information
08 Writing On The Wall
09 I Will Be There
10 Devils In Disguise
Embedded Videos: Regatta - 1989 This Is Love (flash video format FLV)
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Superb one off release, reminding me of the great Boulevard and also Go West in places. Matthew Gerard is also connected to Von Groove as mentioned and Greg Critchley to Kim Mitchel on his 'Aural Fixations' release. Lovers of great Canadian AOR won't go wrong with this one, especially with the first half of the disc. Highly recommended