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Magnum - 1986 Vigilante

ARTIST: Magnum
ALBUM: Vigilante
LABEL: Polydor (UK), Polydor (USA)
SERIAL: POLD 5198, 829986-1
YEAR: 1986
CD REISSUE: 1986, Polydor (West Germany), 829 986-2


LINEUP: Bob Catley - vocals * Tony Clarkin - guitars * Mark Stanway - keyboards * Wally Lowe - bass * Mickey Barker - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Lonely Night * 02 Need A Lot Of Love * 03 Sometime Love * 04 Midnight (You Won't Be Sleeping) * 05 Red On The Highway * 06 Holy Rider * 07 When The World Comes Down * 08 Vigilante * 09 Back Street Kid


It's been nearly twenty years since this wonderful understated album graced our presence. At that point in history, I was starting to discover the wonderment of this British band, their 'On A Storytellers Night' the year before was my first experience with them, and what an experience it was. Their music/lyrics with a slight fantasy orientation was left aside for this 1986 platter, a simpler collection of songs focusing on love, relationships, pain, heartache (ahh it's 1986 and it's AOR.. what else do ya expect!). 'Vigilante' also marked the start of a new relationship with record label Polydor after a few years on Don Arden's Jet Records label.

The Songs
'Lonely Night' is a mid-tempo opener. Quite commercial with more keyboard than guitar on display. The world in conflict is described in 'Need A Lot Of Love'. Places of war, conflict and pain.. where lots of love is required. Vietnam, Lebanon, Belfast etc. A well written song by Clarkin. 'Sometime Love' is a quirky upbeat track which lies in the heart of 'Head Games' era Foreigner mostly. One of the highlights on the album is the delightful mid-tempo 'Midnight (You Won't Be Sleeping)'. The acoustic guitar introduction, with a thumping backbeat for accompaniment makes way for a delicious four minutes of AOR. Even the sax solo is a winner. Bob Catley veers of into Lou Gramm territory with the hard-hitting 'Red On The Highway' while the following 'Holy Rider' is equally high impact, brash drums, and a strange mid-section (listen to all those wierd vocal effects). Again, Catley ends up in Lou Gramm territory by accident rather than by design! 'When The World Comes Down' is one of those 'lighters in the air' ballads, the breathy pan flute provided by keyboardist Mark Stanway making it a heartfelt moment. The titletrack 'Vigilante' rocks slighter harder than the others, while the album closer is the much maligned 'Back Street Kid', an anthemic track for the perpetual underdog. This is a song which could've sounded great on one of the Rocky soundtracks!

In Summary
Next to 'On A Storytellers Night', 'Vigilante' is my favourite Magnum album. In its simplicity is carried a message that good songs borne of solid songwriting and carried by a superb singer in Bob Catley will always stand the test of time. Though it wasn't successful in the charts (mind you, tell me.. which Magnum album ever was?), fans of the band and the genre will always find a place in their hearts for this neat little CD. If you don't have it in the collection already, give yourself a slap with a feather-duster!

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#1 | george_the_jack on June 02 2008 13:42:55
Masterpiece! Vigilante is among those albums that spotted melodic rock of the 80's. A must for everyone considered a dedicated fan of the genre!
#2 | reyno-roxx on July 20 2008 21:53:59
For some reason the live 'Marauder' album remains my favourite Magnum album.
#3 | Jez on April 17 2009 10:51:17
Definitely the best sounding and produced Magnum album (Queen's Roger Taylor)to date, this is another terrific disc, choc full of great songs. I remember seeing them on the 'Vigilante' tour and the band were really firing on all cylinders and also playing bigger and better venues than before. Lonely Night and 'Vigilante' are typically great Magnum Rockers with some great keyboards and 'Need A Lot Of Love'a great ballad. The rest of the album is good quality aswell and very consistent as usual. Another highly recommended Magnum disc then and a very nice addition to the collection.
#4 | Eric on January 08 2011 04:05:43
This album didn't do that much for me, a little too straight AOR and kind of ditching the 70's hard pomp sound of the early albums i.e too much Foreigner, not enough Kansas. Still, Roger Taylor's production is pristine and there are a handful of good things here. I think Taylor's outfit The Cross toured the UK with Magnum at some point too.
#5 | trillion1999 on October 19 2011 21:48:58
I love When The World Comes Down.So X-Massy IMHO.
#6 | code4 on August 18 2015 20:20:21
Gave myself a slap with a feather duster and got this one recently on your recommendation thank you. As the first song opens, musically I find it reminding me of Joe Bruce and 2nd Avenue's 'We Can have It All' funnily enough(not that these two bands share much in common otherwise I suppose) and I am sure I am not the first person to think that 'Back Street Kid' lyrically sounds like it heavily borrowed from Foreigner's 'Juke Box Hero'. I've enjoyed this cd generally. 'Need a lot of Love' is probably my favourite track after a dozen listens over the last months. Cheers again.

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