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A.R.S - 1989 Truth In A Structured Form



ARTIST: A.R.S
ALBUM: Truth In A Structured Form
LABEL: Epic (CBS/Imagine)
SERIAL: 466226 2
YEAR: 1989

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Ronnie Hammond - vocals * Barry Bailey - guitars * Steve Stone - guitars * Dean Daughtry - keyboards * J.E. Garnett - bass * Sean Burke - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Awesome Love * 02 Listen To The Wind * 03 I Want You Here With Me * 04 Every Little Bit Hurts * 05 What Happened To Us * 06 Neon Street * 07 One Way Town * 08 I'm Not The Only One * 09 I'm Going Back * 10 How Much Love Is Enough * 11 Don't Get Me Started

WEBLINKS: www.atlantarhythmsection.com


Background
Better known as Atlanta Rhythm Section, this lot have been part of the southern rock scene since 1972. Their origins probably go further back, but we won't dwell too much on their pre-history. Let's focus on this AOR-era timeframe instead. At the start of the decade, the Atlanta Rhythm Section were in their prime-years. Following in with big hits such as 'Imaginary Lover' and 'So Into You', the band pushed on into the eighties, riding the crest of albums such as 'The Boys From Doraville' and 'Quinella', the latter reviewed here at GDAZE and featured another hit single in 'Alien'. From that point though the hits and success dried up. Didn't mean they disappeared overnight. However, they did take their time coming back to the fold, returning at the end of the decade with this effort 'Truth In A Structured Form'. They had to resort to an abbreviated name (A.R.S) as some former band members complained about the continuation of the original name. At first appearances, many punters would have written this album off. First word of caution: Don't. This is fantastic southern tinged AOR the way 38 Special made their own during the same timeframe. In fact, the 38 boys would've been looking over their shoulder wondering how they could've sounded so familiar. The album is a far cry from their lite southern fried rock leanings from the seventies, but if any of you have been lucky enough to have heard the unreleased Don Barnes album 'Ride' The Storm', then this is a good fit musically, as would be Rossington Band's 1988 effort 'Love Your Man' and Poco's 1989 'Legacy' album. I guess what I am saying is that this is more AOR than it is southern rock. They also signed to CBS subsidiary Imagine, the same label as Danger Danger. ARS during 1989 were in very good company indeed.



The Songs
Perhaps the songs were representative of a new era for the band, with a completely new rhythm section plus second guitarist Steve Stone. The smooth entrance on 'Awesome Love' a completely different and novel start as per previous album efforts. The song would sit alongside any of the aforementioned bands and grace FM radio with ease. The commercial southern strains heard on 'Listen To The Wind' sounds like a cast-off from 38 Special's 'Tour De Force' album, which begs the question: just what would have ARS sounded like in 1982 or 1983? Perhaps this is the clue.. A tale of lost love is heard yet again on 'I Want You Here With Me', the reverbed vocals, timely synth layers and soaring guitars ensures I add this song to my weekly playlist. The band get energetic on 'Every Little Bit Hurts', the mix of aggressive guitars and subdued keyboard layers vital in keeping up the energy level from start to finish. The first ballad appears with 'What Happened To Us'. The acoustic wash and vocal harmonies provide some richness on a simple structure, topped by a brief but memorable solo. The 38 Special comparison rears again on 'Neon Street' as it does on 'One Way Town' though in my reckoning the vocal harmonies are much better. Check out the guitar solos too! The purest AOR song here is 'I'm Not The Only One', the understated approach complimented by a pulsing bass line, nice guitar melodies and synth layers. A couple of southern boy rockers in 'Im Going Back' and 'How Much Love Is Enough' help to finish up the album, but the closer 'Don't Get Me Started' takes us out on a tide of melodic rock with less southern influences this time.


In Summary
'Truth In A Structured Form' didn't set the world on fire, but for fans of this site, this album comes highly recommended. Don't be put off by reading non-sensical diatribe like the idiotic review by a certain Tim Briggs over at All Music Guide who obviously has a public dislike for the band. The reference points we've given you are an indication as to what this album sounds like. You can use your judgement from there. From their website, their bio suggests that this album was wrapped up in the same corporate mould as many other bands of the day. The production and smooth sound a tell-tale sign that this was caught up in the eighties gloss and sheen. For some bands it worked, for others it was a wipeout. In the case of ARS, though they themselves might be hesitant to admit it, this album stands tall in a back catalogue of excellent music. Check it out melodic rockers!


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Comments
#1 | aor-fm on July 27 2008 10:21:02
This a fantastic album folks, and in the 'genre' of southern influenced aor/melodic rock, this stands tall, with bands like 38 Special, Billy Satellite, Blackfoot and New Frontiers, and is my personal favorite.
#2 | aor-fm on July 27 2008 10:24:31
....listen to the wind! score 10score 10score 10
#3 | richardb on December 08 2013 19:07:34
Agreed an excellent album, that regularly gets a spin. My personal faves are "I want you here with me" "Every little bit hurts" and "How much love is enough", although there isn't one duff track on the album IMHO. The 38 Special comparisons are spot on as is the Billy Satellite reference point.

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