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Vital Escape - 1995 Escapism

ARTIST: Vital Escape
ALBUM: Escapism
LABEL: JAC Records
YEAR: 1995


LINEUP: Jack Cooke - vocals, guitars, keyboards * Adrian Rose - bass * Chris Rose - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Time And Money * 02 Visions * 03 Give It All Up * 04 Only Your Love * 05 Silent World * 06 One And One * 07 The Last Chance * 08 Someone Somewhere * 09 One Small Step * 10 Here To Stay

I remember buying this on the back of a small review I read somewhere during 1995. The overall feeling I get when listening to this English based outfit is 'ripped off'. Well.. not entirely. How about mis-represented? Just the mere mention of the bands Giant and Tall Stories was enough to get me interested back then, however it appears someone was throwing compliments around without sitting down and giving the thing a decent listen. V.E zero in on the territory that belonged to fellow countrymen Thunder though with more 'AOR' thrown into the mix. I think there is a huge difference between layered US based AOR and good old traditional hard rock from the UK. However, in saying that V.E is good for what it is, but being described as 'the best AOR act to come out of the UK to date' (circa 1995) makes a mockery of all those 'class UK acts' which have gone before, a la Dare, Strangeways etc. Jack Cooke's reference points include Eric Martin, Danny Bowes and to a lesser degree Mitch Malloy. To be fair, he's not in the same league, but for a complete unknown at the time (as he was back in 1995), Cooke is indeed one talented individual.

The Songs
For a collection of ten songs, there are some good slices of hard rock on offer. Like the pulsating keyboard sequences of 'Visions', or the pick of the bunch pairing of 'Give It All Up' and the galloping guitar romp that is 'Silent World'. Even 'Only Your Love', with it's Alannah Myles 'Black Velvet' strut meets Gamma 'Voyager' comparison has its moment, despite the flat sounding production. Cooke's guitar phases up and down and across the soundscape on 'One Small Step', while 'Here To Stay' is a veiled attempt at bridging the sound last achieved with supergroup Bad English. Big names to emulate for sure, and good on him for giving it a crack. Overall I come away quite impressed.

In Summary
Despite its occasional moment of interest, all I can say with Vital Escape is the overall end result probably doesn't match the OTT acclaim given it at the time. When reviewed some seven years later, yes the test of time does make this one look a little less than what it actually was. However, when kept in context, and seeing this was Cooke's first album, it is ultimately, an impressive effort. Are we gonna hear from him again? If so, give him to Bob Marlette or Clif Magness. That would be something!

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#1 | Jez on June 14 2008 16:29:53
Very solid Brit melodic rock. This lot always remind me of Thunder in places aswell as the bands mentioned above. A shame they only released this album (i think), as this was a very promising debut album.
#2 | Nick C on October 12 2008 22:01:50
Yes .. I like this little gem and I was also hoping for more. The track Silent World is brilliant (is that a rain stick I hear in the background?). I managed to see them at one of the Gods of AOR shows at Wigan and although not as polished as the album the band acquitted themselves very well.

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