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Kooga - 1986 Across The Water

ALBUM: Across The Water
LABEL: High Dragon
YEAR: 1986
CD REISSUE: 2008, Krescendo, KRECD26


LINEUP: Neville McDonald - vocals, guitars * Neil Garland - keyboards * David Howells - bass * Martin Williams - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Across The Water * 02 Lifeline * 03 Fall From Grace * 04 Lay Down Your Love * 05 Lockjaw (instrumental) * 06 She Walks In Beauty * 07 Gabrielle * 08 Like I've Never Known

I think these guys were previously called Preacher, and not Cougar as some would assume. They first came onto the scene in 1981, originating out of the misty valleys of Wales.. better known for producing world class rugby players rather than melodic rock musicians. With not a lot of success getting a deal locally in Britain, the band turned to France, and there they found themselves a label willing to work with them. 1986's 'Across The Water' (aptly named dont'cha think?) was the resulting piece of music.

The Songs
The album is more pomp than AOR. In that, you can use British bands such as Grand Prix, Saracen and Magnum as reference points. There are a heap of keyboards onboard too, but it doesn't swamp what is predominantly a guitar-rocking album. The title track gets us going, the linear-sounding keyboards giving this track the zing right from the outset. 'Lifeline' is melodic rock in the same style as US bands Norway, Shotgun Symphony and Departure. The guitar/keyboard interplay sounding very similar. 'Fall From Grace' is the token ballad, while 'Lockjaw' rocks out strong - being an instrumental. 'Like I've Never Known' is a great pomp based effort, slow burning approach, filled with layered keys and strutting guitars. Excellent!

In Summary
After the release of the album, the band recruited guitarist Gerwyn Howley to assist them in a live capacity. Buoyed by the positive response to 'Across The Water', the band released three more tracks during 1987, but by then, the wind had fluttered elsewhere, and the sails had been emptied of momentum. Long after the event, this album was double-teamed with Canadian band Fist and their 1981 album 'Fleet Street'. They both appeared as part of a bootlegged CD. I know for a fact that Fist's main-man Ron Chenier was extremely pissed off and sought legal compensation. Not too sure about our Welsh boyos though. I think they would've been glad just to have their music out there in any way, shape or form. Anyway, McDonald then went on to join UK band Skin, joining forces with former Jagged Edge axe tyro Myke Gray.

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This article has been tagged
Tags: Kooga 
#1 | swazi on January 05 2011 19:23:57
I am really enjoying this one right now! Great disc!
The Krescendo CD release is not as bad as some say it is, imo.
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