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First Shot - 2001 From The Hip



ARTIST: First Shot
ALBUM: From The Hip
LABEL: Escape Music
SERIAL: ESM 071
YEAR: 2001

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Marc Le France - vocals, drums * Doug Edwards - guitars * Peter Clarke - bass * David Pickell - keyboards

TRACK LISTING: 01 The First Shot * 02 Love Is On It's Way * 03 Lost Without Your Love * 04 Caught In A Hurriance * 05 No Fun Anymore * 06 Turn To Me * 07 I Can Never Stop The Rain * 08 Take A Chance On Love * 09 Heartbreak Avenue * 10 Whats So Good About Him * 11 Action Reaction * 12 Being With The Ones You Love


Background
'From The Hip' are a Canadian AOR outfit with an impressive resume. Vocalist Le France was previously in Blackstone, Loverboy guitarist Paul Dean's project. Edwards has played with Bryan Adams, Pickell with Skylark and Nick Gilder, and Clarke was a member of Straight Lines and Body Electric. With such a history a lot would be expected from these guys and certainly they haven't let themselves down. 'From The Hip' traverse most AOR corners on the album, there's some bold hard rock down to some teary eyed ballads. Paul Dean is present as mixer, keeping it in the family so to speak. Must be tight knit the Canadians hmm?


The Songs
With their roots firmly esconced in the 80's, 'From The Hip' have successfully captured the essence of that era maintaining a classic AOR sound. The production is quite rough on occasions, not all too clear. This gives it away making the mostly excellent synth work sound crude and amateur. The title cut makes use of some Who type 'Eminence Front' keyboards, a good melodic opener with little guitar. 'Love Is On It's Way' sounds like the band stayed up listening to Rick Springfield and Eddie Money all night, especially 1982 era. The synth work is a replica of that magic time, and with a delicious chorus and bouncy beat it's a classic AOR cut. The only downside is the melody note which is a rip off Sammy Hagar's 'Your Love Is Driving Me Crazy'. 'Lost Without Your Love' is a major wimp ballad, overloaded with sappy keys sounding like something that N Sync or the Backstreet Boys might manufacture, only heavier and with well realised melody. 'No Fun Anymore' turns up the rock, more in keeping with classic Loverboy, though the production is awful here. 'Turn To Me' is more modern and a bit too artificial with some Z grade keyboard effects. Not even use of the words 'danger zone' save it. 'Take A Chance On Love' opens to some parping synths, causing open mouthed laughter, but the result is pure AOR right down to the gritty guitar solo. Top notch. 'Heartbreak Ave' is Loverboy circa 1987, although far less polished. The sound reaches bottom here, clearly distorted on odd moments. 'What's So Good About Him' opens jubilantly, uplifting melodic runs with first rate backing harmonies. 'Action Reaction' is a jaded title, but is one of the heavier tracks, with some major riffing. Very hard AOR. Closer 'Being With The Ones You Love' is horrific, a bit of honky tonk piano and gospel vocals with mammoth hand claps. The band probably though it was a bit of fun. Skip this dud.


In Summary
'First Shot' is an admirable effort. Their hearts are in the right place trying to recapture the 80's sound, but with a production level equal to a battery operated tape player, it's not quite professional enough, regardless of the musicians involved. Obviously they threw a couple of modern songs in to be halfway relevant, but with mostly 80's sounds they are more token than genuine. On a positive note there are a ton of brilliant melodies within, and no amount of faulty production can hide that. Maybe with a bigger budget next time their goals will be realised. A good start overall.


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First Shot - 2001 From The Hip
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Comments
#1 | Jez on June 16 2008 02:25:07
Another 'From The Vaults' release from years back (don't know the year exactly though). Good solid Canadian AOR in the Boulevard, Loverboy mould, but nowhere near in terms of songs and production. 'Lost Without Love' is an excellent ballad and tops this release for me.
 
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