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Blanc Faces - 2005 Blanc Faces



ARTIST: Blanc Faces
ALBUM: Blanc Faces
LABEL: Frontiers
SERIAL: FRCD 246
YEAR: 2005

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Robbie la Blanc - vocals, rhythm guitar * Brian La Blanc - bass, vocals

Guests:
Kyle Woodring, Tony Archer - drums * Jeff Batter - keyboards * Butch Taylor - lead guitar

TRACK LISTING: 01 Here's To You * 02 Edge Of The World * 03 We'll Make The Best Of It * 04 Stranger To Love * 05 Turn This World Around * 06 It's A Little Too Loud * 07 Staying Power * 08 Where Do I Go From Here * 09 Beneath This Heart * 10 Pray For Me * 11 Sorry For The Heartache * 12 We Will Rise

RATING:


Background
Look, I'll be the first to admit it. I have been a severe critic of Frontiers Records recent offerings. Many of which I thought were extremely poor. However, in the space of one album, it seems they can be forgiven for previous poor choices with this lovely effort from the La Blanc brothers Robbie and Brian, going under the clever title Blanc Faces. I suppose it could've been worse.. you know; like Blanc Looks, or Blanc Stares.. so though it is a play on words, the title could've bombed big time. Thankfully the music doesn't. Take your pick of influences, they are all there. I won't name 'names'. Lead singer Robbie La Blanc takes his cue from a number of sources. Brain Howe from Bad Company is one, Larry Melby from Christian AORsters Liaison is another, but by now you've got the picture! This is melodic rock/AOR as we remember it years ago. And a welcome return does it make.


The Songs
From the New York/Connecticut area, the duo have performed with, and for, many other artists in the scene. Rupert Holmes, Toto, Ronnie Spector to name a few. They've even recorded material at the studios of Michael Bolton, another Connecticut resident, albeit a famous one, and spent time as a band in their own right, called Fury way back in the eighties! The songs on this album have all been prepared by the brothers with a bit of outside help from the above named musicians. The result is a commercial set of tunes containing that magic list of ingredients that made radio rock such a buzz back in the 70's and 80's. Some of these veer pretty close to the early 90's work of Bad Company, from that 'Holy Water' era, but more commercial. That says something because I certainly enjoyed BC with Brian Howe. Take a listen to 'Edge Of The World' for direct evidence. The arrangements are glue-ear catchy, plus they don't sound predictable nor contrived, unlike many of today's releases. And I hate to say it, but when push comes to shove, still the best AOR originates from North America. I know many would disagree, but having followed this scene since the early 70's I have seen them come and go, and still the best remembered acts come from North America.. bar none, and it is proved here yet again by this lot. If it's ballads, then tune into 'Stranger To Love' which has a melody similar to Bad English's 'Price Of Love', or the ethereal 'Pray For Me'. If it's anthemic rockers you're after, look no further then the pairing of 'Turn This World Around' and 'We Will Rise'. My goodness, even the song titles are uplifting anthems for our times!!


In Summary
If this was released back in the glory days era, it may well have got lost in the wash. It is a sad indictment then that class releases of this genre are so far and few between. Thankfully Blanc Faces pull one out of the fire for the fans. Leave the Journey and Survivor comparisons alone thanks. Whoever wrote that on their biography obviously wasn't thinking hard enough. The world is bad enough when every new album has to be compared to those two, when quite clearly they aren't even in the zone. Recommended to all lovers of AOR, hard rock, and even West Coasters. You'll get something out of this for sure!


Related Articles
Blanc Faces - 2005 Blanc Faces
Blanc Faces - 2009 Falling From The Moon


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Comments
#1 | Jez on June 16 2008 12:00:51
Back to the glory days of Survivor & Foreigner with this one & a very good release indeed. It still ain't perfect though as it does die a little in the middle somewhat, although it ends on a high with my personal fave 'We Will Rise'. A little over rated maybe, but a keeper non the less.
#2 | george_the_jack on October 19 2009 17:58:19
Fantastic album! I loved it at the time it was released and I still love it. The mid 80s 'Fury' album is also terridic. I'm on fire waiting for the new 'Blanc Faces' sensation as well! Maybe 2009 is an even better year compared to the solid 2008.
#3 | jeffrey343 on December 02 2010 15:52:34
It took me a long time to get to where I really liked this one, as it initially struck me as "good but not great", even though there is definitely nothing not to like here. I'm glad I kept revisiting this, and that the 2009 release reminded me about it. The Bad Company comparisons didn't register at first, as this is definitely a "cleaner" sound. So clean, in fact, that it isn't really distinctive. But I could hear these songs performed by other artists and sounding quite good. It just took several listens to really "know" the album. The brothers are good vocalists - again not really distinctive, but they sing well. This would likely have been more immediate to me if it had more "edge" to it. But as it is, it works well for me when I'm in a more mellow mood.
#4 | Ralfster on August 25 2013 12:58:39
After a long search I just got the first BLANC FACES CD "When The World Comes Down" that they released independently in 1999. It's good, but nothing like FURY or their Frontiers releases. It's in a midwest vein musically and sounds like a mix of DANNY WILDE and TOM PETTY. Still great harmony vocals as expected and the production is top notch as well. Bob Leinbach (ORLEANS, JOHN HALL BAND) guests on keys and the title track even was featured as a bonus cut on the japanese pressing of the s/t Frontiers CD. Not sure though if that was a newly recorded more AORish version. If you're interested "When The World Comes Down" can now easily be bought via CD baby.
 
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