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Vu, The - 2000 Phoenix Rising



THE VU - PHOENIX RISING (2000, FRONTIERS)
Kevin Chalfant - vocals
Stef Burns - guitars
Tim Gorman - keyboards
Ross Valory - bass
Prarie Prince - drums


Background
Those guys at Frontiers are doing a marvellous job at breathing back life into long dead projects. For all of us who have had underground demo tapes of long lost bands, and more particularly, bands who never managed to secure a deal at the time of recording, an album like this one is a welcome surprise. From San Fransisco, The View as they were known then is a virtual supegroup. Chlafant being ex Steel Breeze and 707, Stef Burns (aka Stefan Birnbaum) was ex Pablo Cruise (check out their 'Out Of Our Hands' album from '83), Gorman played the ivories with The Who, Valory came from that unknown entity called Journey, while Prince couldn't decide between a Jekyll and Hyde existence in The Tubes, so opted for this project. At the time of recording (1985), The View, believe it or not, could not secure a deal, so their material went unnoticed among the big corporates but not so the melodic rock fraternity. Their material was legend for many years, so not surprising our Italian friends persuaded someone somewhere to get these classic sounding tracks into the digital age. Take a bow Messrs Perugino and De Riso. The music is period AOR, and harks back to all those great albums from that era/year. Night Ranger's 'Big Life', Toto, Journey and so on. The unfortunate thing about an album released 15 years after it was supposed to, is the comparison to current day projects. However the quality which abounds with a band like this inevitably means the material has a timeless aspect about it, regardless of era. Obvious comparisons include Chalfant's other projects The Storm and Two Fires, and yes they are similar in ways, but also markedly different in other areas. I love Tim Gorman's keyboard work on this album, which moves in a slightly different territory from the likes of Gregg Rolie and Jonathan Cain, and is more akin with keyboard players out of Europe, Sweden in particular.

The Songs
The songs are great, but not overly 'killer', if you know what I mean. Though in saying that however, 'Keys To The City' is utterly utterly brilliant. 'One Track Mind' is also right up there, as is 'Who You Gonna Believe', though marginally less so. 'Save It For Me' is a nice ballad with some cascading piano lines while 'If I Had You Back' has that epic feel, and some Genesis sounding keyboard parts contained within. The remaining songs all have their moments too. I quite enjoyed Stef Burns guitar tone on 'Somewhere Here' which smacked of Larry Carlton on the solo's, while 'So Long' though appropriate as the album closer, makes me appreciate the talent of these guys, and the fact that I'm hearing this on CD all these years later.

In Summary
Spend some quality time with this CD and it will increase in value and your fondness for it will grow in due course. At the moment it's on repeat play and I'm enjoying it immensely.

Track Listing:
01 Who You Gonna Believe
02 Keys To The City
03 One Track Mind
04 Save It For Me
05 Hard To Get
06 If I Had You Back
07 Walk Through The Fire
08 Dreaming Your Life Away
09 Somewhere Here
10 So Long

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Comments

#1 | Jez on June 14 2008 17:11:14
How they didn't get a record deal at the time with this is beyond me. Anyway, Good to finally have this on a proper release. Very strong throughout, especially Ross Valory's bass playing and of course Kevin Chalfant's vocals, along with a good set of songs. Not the best ever release of it's type, but definately recommended if you're into the Journey/ Storm etc etc style Aor.
#2 | george_the_jack on December 13 2009 19:44:06
What a great album is this?! Fantastic Journey-ish AOR

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