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Articles Home » 2006 Articles » Survivor - 2006 Reach [review #2]
Survivor - 2006 Reach [review #2]

ARTIST: Survivor
ALBUM: Reach
LABEL: Frontiers
YEAR: 2006


LINEUP: Jimi Jamison - vocals * Frankie Sullivan - guitars, vocals * Chris Grove - keyboards * Barry Dunaway - bass * Marc Droubay - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Reach * 02 Fire Makes Steel * 03 Nevertheless * 04 Seconds Away * 05 One More Chance * 06 Gimmie The Word * 07 The Rhythm Of Your Heart * 08 I Don't * 09 Half Of My Heart * 10 Talkin' 'Bout Love * 11 Don't Give Up * 12 Home


WEBLINKS: www.survivormusic.com

Well there has been a lot of speculation, hype, interest, and intrigue with the 'second coming' of one of AOR's favourite sons.. Survivor. Their first album in years, and with three members still intact from arguably their most successful tenure (1984-1989). Now signed to European label Frontiers, the band have followed in the shadow of founding ex member Jim Peterik, who too has also released an album on the same label. I felt compelled to write this review, as a compendium to another recent review of the same album on this site. We are all entitled to our opinions, but having listened to Survivor for as long as I can remember, I could not pass up the chance to have a say about 'Reach'. Having given this album a spin or two, I come away very underwhelmed, and that to me is a disappointment, but considering it is 2006, surely it is too much to ask. Firstly from a musical perspective. WTF is happening with the drum mix on this album? Where is the oomph and power? It sounds incredibly weak, and with no steel in the backbone, the whole album suffers. The production is a mixed bag of peanuts and raisins. And more importantly, where the heck are the keyboards? Survivor was a band borne out of big ivory splashes, and without Peterik's trademark Wurlitzer type sound there, the band might as well wear masks, such is the faceless aspect of their sound. The few compliments I can give are the fantastic vocals of Jamison, Sullivan's guitar-playing, and a couple of decent tunes. Frankie even gets to sing on two tracks, but really he should've left them to Jimi. When you have a master-singer in the band, well.. you know the rest..

The Songs
The title track is first out of the hat. Great to hear Jimi again, the song overall isn't too bad, but where are the drums? It sounds as if Droubay is whacking a plastic bottle full of water. 'Fire Makes Steel' is hardly a new song for the band, and sounds like a southern rocker instead - a likeable track but again.. drums drums drums... 'Nevertheless' sees Sullivan handling vocals. This one didn't do anything for me.. the lyrics are particularly painful.. 'nevertheless.. fighting a battle like all of the rest.. never surrender, nevertheless..'. . Um right.. I though these lyrics went out with the ArK? The first ballad 'Seconds Away' is nice and more in line with past Survivor material, though in saying that, it could also be a 38 Special 'play-by-numbers' AOR tune as well. 'One More Chance' features a ton of guitar melodies and a gentle piano line, and could be a tune straight out of Nashville. Nice tune though - one of the better ones. 'Gimme The Word' starts out with fire and brimstone, and is probably the most AOR-oriented track here, but admittedly it doesn't have their signature trademark over it. 'The Rhythm Of Your Heart' is soppy meandering fare, though 'I Don't' tries hard to break the slumber-mode of its predecessor, an energetic piece that is bordered on the other side by another part-ballad ' Half Of My Heart'. Oh dear. What is going on here? Well, just as I was about to turf the album out of my player, along comes the highlight for me' Talkin' Bout Love'. Now this is more like it, reminding me a lot of Night Ranger's 'Restless Kind' off 'Man In Motion'. Despite the fact that Sullivan is singing it, I'll buy into it. 'Don't Give Up' doesn't reach the same heights but it does try hard. The album finishes with another dreary country-like ballad 'Home'.

In Summary
Wow, talk about a mixed bag. No disrespect to my fellow colleague and to all the other reviewers out there who like this album. For me, 'Reach' is a pale comparison to Survivor's best years. Any album that rates less than a five is a wipe-out, so Survivor survive the cut as I've given it a six and a half. In the meantime, I am going back to listen to my Pride Of Lions CD's. At least Frontiers got it right on one front, but missed the boat on another. As our good friend AORPOMPY says so frequently.. 'it's all a matter of taste mate'.

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Tags: Survivor 
#1 | Eric on April 19 2006 22:45:56
Wow- two very different takes on this CD. I hadn't planned on buying this (never was a big fan, but 'Premonition' was very good), but now my curosity is peaked. Agree on the cover art- Firefall and check out Orleans latest CD for the same look. Same artist? Grin
#2 | Jez on June 13 2008 09:33:08
One of the discs I had really been looking forward to after a nearly 20 year wait. First impressions were good, and the more I have spun this, the better it gets. Definately 1-2 fillers ('Home' is pretty awful), but some fine Melodic rock aswell with 'One More Chance' & the excellent 'Talkin' Bout Love' being my picks. Jimi Jamison still sounds great, although the Franke Sullivan sung tracks aren't exactly the best vocals I have ever, production is a little flat, although songwise excellent.
#3 | jeffrey343 on December 12 2008 23:03:11
I got this when it came out, and like many, my impressions were mixed. There are some songs here that are quite good, with "Talkin' "Bout Love" being excellent. I think that we'd be calling that one a classic if Jamison sang it, but Sullivan sounds very good on it. I think what bugs me most is that the album shifts styles a bit much - there is not the normal consistency of style. And like George said, where are the keys? I've never thought of Survivor as much of an acoustic band. They put a couple of more acoustical songs on one of their GH compilations (with Dave Bickler singing), and they did nothing for me.

I do think this would have sounded a lot better (and a lot more like how we want Survivor to sound) with different arrangements. I think the songs themselves are OK, and Jimi still sounds great, but it doesn't reach their usual heights.

Two years after getting this, I can say that I don't play the whole album straight through very often at all. "Talkin' 'Bout Love" makes it onto many of my playlists, and I'll put "Reach", "Fire Makes Steel" and "Don't Give Up" on the occasional workout playlist. The rest of them are perfectly fine when they come up in shuffle mode. Not a bad CD, and probably quite acceptable for most bands who would not have the high expectations that we have for Survivor, but not as great as what we expected.
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