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Autograph - 1987 Loud And Clear




ARTIST: Autograph
ALBUM: Loud and Clear
LABEL: RCA
SERIAL: 5796
YEAR: 1987
CD REISSUE: 2006, Rock Candy Records (UK), CANDY015

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Steve Plunkett - vocals, guitars * Steve Lynch - lead guitars * Randy Rand - bass * Stephen Isham - keyboards * Kenni Richards - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Loud And Clear * 02 Dance All Night * 03 She Never Looked That Good To Me * 04 Bad Boy * 05 Everytime I Dream * 06 She's A Tease * 07 Judt Got Back From Heaven * 08 Down 'n' Dirty * 09 More Than A Million Times * 10 When The Sun Goes Down


Background
About to receive a long overdue reissue on CD from Rock Candy, this was easily the best of Autograph's three albums and also one of the best AOR releases of 1987. Autograph's first two studio recordings contained flashes of brilliance but inconsistency plagued both 'Sign In Please' and 'That's The Stuff', with some ordinary tracks that lacked both melody and true originality. By 'Loud And Clear' the band had left behind most traces of their hard rock leanings and concentrated squarely on pursuing a melodic direction that finally achieved the balance Autograph were looking for, one of AOR magnificence. Sadly by this point the bands commercial appeal was on the lag, and it's unbelievable they could not secure a hit similar to 'Turn Up The Radio' with the multitude of potential chart action of 'Loud And Clear'. The production from Andy Johns was another plus, giving Autograph the, ahem, clearest, sound of their trio of recordings.


The Songs
The anthemic title track is a rousing way to kick the album off, before moving into the good time party rock of 'Dance All Night', with another huge hook. AOR lovers will gorge themselves with 'She Never Looked That Good For Me', heavy on thrilling verses and bridges, one for the ages. The keyboards are everywhere, resulting in a must hear feast of melodic excellence. Same goes for the equally inspired 'Bad Boy', which pushes some exciting melody lines to the forefront. Power ballad 'Everytime I Dream' is powerful enough to have been a number one smash, it's textbook material, putting many an AOR act of 1987 to waste. 'She's A Tease' returns to the huge chorus filled, good time arena rock, before more AOR levels are exceeded with 'Just Got Back From Heaven'. Autograph in all fairness had attained an obvious sound of their own by now and it's difficult to compare this to similar artists, probably because it is far superior. 'More Than A Million Times' is another blockbuster ballad, the other two tracks 'Down And Dirty' and 'When The Sun Goes Down' both harmless odes to the good life with phenomenal choruses that are the albums strength through and through.


In Summary
If keyboard dominance and melodic guitar work is your bag then this is one that's hard to overlook. This should have pushed Autograph even further, but it never happened and the band split two years later, the demos they had been working on seeing the light of day in 1997 on 'Missing Pieces'. For once I'd agree that here was a band who probably did the right thing in breaking up, there was perhaps nowhere left to go with their type of melodic rock and with the clinic of 'Loud And Clear' it was a fine way to depart. Better than seeing the band continue into the 90's and turn grunge I'd suggest! With its new lease of life on CD this is a must have for all fans who had never heard it previously. It's good to see the right albums getting chosen for special treatment!


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Comments

#1 | jeffrey343 on January 01 1970 01:00:00
This is definitely not a bad album by any means, but I just can't get into it as much as 'That's The Stuff'. I've resigned myself to being in the minority here. I think the production is a bit heavy-handed - the drums and bass are just a bit too much for my taste. And a few of the songs are less interesting to me than the ones on TTS (such as 'Dance All Night' and 'Down & Dirty'). But 'More Than A Million Times' is an absolute masterpiece, both musically and lyrically. Back in the pre-CD days, I played my cassette many times just to get to that song.
#2 | Jez on June 13 2008 09:44:03
After the 'treading water' that was the 'That's The Stuff' album, Autograph hit back big time with this album. While not quite as good as 'Sign In..' it runs it pretty close, and does feature 2 of the best tracks the band ever wrote in 'She Never Looked That Good' and the terrific 'More Than A Million Times'. The rest is pretty darned good aswell, but just falls short of the debut in the consistency of a couple of tracks.
#3 | reyno-roxx on July 01 2008 11:00:47
A brilliant album. I agree with Jex that it certainly improved upon the relative disappointment of that difficult second album.
#4 | jeffrey343 on February 13 2012 05:33:43
For an album I've had since it came out, I don't think I've given it enough of a chance. I've been in an Autograph place this weekend, and this one has really grown on me more than it ever did in 1987. Funny how that works sometimes. I really loved these guys.
#5 | super80boy on December 06 2014 22:58:55
Steve Lynch's guitar playing was spot on in what turned out to be a well produced melodic hard rock monster of a record. This really should have been their 'comeback' album of sorts as it's just as good if not better than their debut and given the right timing, could have taken them to the next level. Standout Tracks: 'Loud And Clear', 'She Never Looked That Good For Me', 'Just Got Back From Heaven' and both power ballads.
#6 | gdazegod on December 07 2014 02:41:28
Autograph - 1987 Loud And Clear
[movie=youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EaJKzabH4_Q[/movie]
#7 | gdazegod on December 07 2014 02:45:43
Autograph - 1987 Dance All Night
[movie=youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TxC6Ljfs96E[/movie]

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