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Articles Home » 2002 Articles » Heartland - 2002 Communication Down
Heartland - 2002 Communication Down

ARTIST: Heartland
ALBUM: Communication Down
LABEL: Escape Music
YEAR: 2002


LINEUP: Chris Ousey - vocals * Steve Morris - guitars, keyboards * Tim Hewitt - bass * Frank Baker - drums

Special Guest: Dave Chapman - keyboards

TRACK LISTING: 01 Imagine My Surprise * 02 Follow Me * 03 The Man In The Iron Mask * 04 The Best Of Times * 05 Fight The Good Fight * 06 Time And Tide * 07 The Bottom Line * 08 Black And White * 09 Refugee * 10 All Her Own Way * 11 Classical Blast


We're a few years down the track with the band Heartland. Admirable that we've got many releases out of Messrs Ousey and Morris, but to my ears there doesn't seem to have been a great deal of progression since their 'Wide Open' release. However, what I will say is that with this new one 'Communication Down', they've assembled perhaps the strongest collection of songs for quite a while. It's no secret that the debut album going back as far as 1991 is my favourite Heartland album, though comparing that one with their follow-up efforts is like comparing George W Bush to Mother Teresa, so different are they. But come 2002, Heartland are now back in my 'good books', and some of these songs are indeed a positive headspin.

The Songs
The harder edge is apparent on the opener, the aptly named 'Imagine My Surprise'. Yes indeed. 'Best Of Times' has an atmospheric quality to it, with an upbeat surging chorus which gives the track some energy. In a remote way, it reminds me of Don Henley's 'Boys Of Summer'. The next one 'Fight The Good Fight' is a mid-tempo piece riding the edge of a melodic knifeblade. Increasing the intensity is the racy 'Time And Tide'.. this is great! The keyboard sequences are very cool. Keeping up the pace is the rather powerful but funky 'The Bottom Line', and they even chuck in a token AOR effort with 'All Her Own Way' before 'Classical Blast' ends up as an instrumental pot-pourri.

In Summary
If people complained that Harlan Cage sounded the same from one album to the next, then in all honesty, they should probably throw Heartland in there too. All the way back from 'Heartland III' up till now, the formula has been much the same. Most of it has been good, but it's the inconsistency and lack of 'attention grabbing' material that has seen me side-step their works, despite the obvious talent of Ousey and Morris. However, 'Communication Down' is a step in the right direction from my perspective, with some very powerful tracks onboard, and a leaner, harder approach. Why didn't they do this sooner?

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#1 | Jez on June 16 2008 01:52:05
Excellent release after 2000's superb 'As It Comes' release. Stunning in all departments.
#2 | george_the_jack on June 24 2008 00:31:45
Excellent album from Chris and his co. in a rather melodic hard rock form...but the quality standards are still very high!
#3 | gdazegod on August 25 2013 10:40:08
Probably need to write up some more Heartland artricles. A few gaps here..
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