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Fraze Gang - 2006 Fraze Gang

ARTIST: Fraze Gang
ALBUM: Fraze Gang
LABEL: Independent
YEAR: 2006
CD REISSUE: 2008, Bongo Beat Records, BB-1994-2
SPONSOR: Greg Fraser


LINEUP: Gregg Fraser - vocals, guitars * Stevie Skreebs - bass * Phill Epp - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Blow Me Away * 02 Saviour * 03 Broken Hero * 04 Sugar Daddy * 05 Rainbow Eyes * 06 Paradise * 07 High Life * 08 I Stand Alone * 09 You Had It All * 10 Stargazer * 11 Roll With The Punches * 12 Hot Rod



From the ashes of seminal Canadian hard rock favourites Brighton Rock comes this spinoff - featuring Greg Fraser and Stevie Skreebs from the now deceased, one time major label act. Brighton Rock released a pair of well received albums during the late 80's and like so many others were derailed in the early 90's by the demise of the melodic scene leaving the band in limbo until a brief reunion in 2001 which resulted in a live album and little else. Fraser and Skreebs aren't ready to disappear just yet and Fraze Gang is an admirable attempt to relive the days of yore for not just Brighton Rock, but hard rock as a whole. The saddest aspect to this valiant struggle is that scant few will be exposed to what musical delights are on offer here, as it appears the band have yet to secure a deal with any label as yet. The fact Fraser and Skreebs are still persevering is a notch in their belts.

The Songs
This is far from consistent over the twelve tracks, but containing enough 80's melody and energy to keep Brighton Rock fans satisfied. Fraser handled the production and the opening anthem 'Blow Me Away' does its best to turn the clock back to 1990, although the guitars are tuned down a little too far. On the AOR side of things 'Savior' impresses with some mid 80's musical twists, but 'Broken Hero' is a miss thanks to a jangly and almost Beatles inspired hook which seems to be obligatory for some bands. A forced attempt at raunchiness falls flat, 'Sugar Daddy' trying too hard to recapture the old school party rock vibe, bit too blatant. Personal highlight 'Paradise' blends AOR and hard rock seamlessly, with a chorus that is required listening. 'High Life' recalls latter day Loverboy (1987-89), followed by the weak acoustic ballad 'I Stand Alone'. Plodding along is 'You Had It All', dreary rock with zero urgency that is bettered by 'Stargazer', not a Rainbow cover but an uplifting personal anthem about overcoming the odds that was so common once upon a time... Inconsistency rears itself again with another nauseating jangly track, 'Roll With The Punches' that followed by the boogie of 'Hot Rod' makes for uneven listening in terms of overall direction.

In Summary
When delivering the type of music Brighton Rock were known for, Fraze Gang are undoubtedly still adept, but by opting to pursue other directions, some with modern tinges, the album as a whole suffers. Using three studios to record in might have been responsible for shifting quality so drastically, but 'Paradise', 'Blow Me Away' and 'Savior' are all worth hearing for melodic rock fans of all ages. Some may find the acoustic guitar use offputting, but in this age it appears any band or artist is fond of adding such touches, complete with snotty vocal passages. The promise is here for improved future results, providing the demand is there. With such a track record of success in Canada that just might be easily obtained.

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#1 | reyno-roxx on July 21 2008 00:32:58
Totally agree with the assessment of this record's strengths and weaknesses.

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