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TRW - 2007 Rivers Of Paradise



ARTIST: TRW
ALBUM: Rivers Of Paradise
LABEL: Frontiers
SERIAL: FRCD 336
YEAR: 2007

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Mark Williamson - vocals, bass * Michael Thompson - guitars, vocals * John Robinson - drums, percussion, vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Set My Spirit Free * 02 Rivers Of Paradise * 03 Hold On * 04 Indiscretion * 05 Gonna Be Some Changes * 06 Only A Letter * 07 Hard Time Love * 08 One Good Woman * 09 Love Comes Calling * 10 Alimony Blues

RATING:


Background
The three cats onboard this album are well known among the GDAZE fraternity. I don't need to remind people of their exploits. Thompson is the guitarists guitarist, Williamson is a fantastic singer with a background in CCM and AC formats, while 'JR' has drummed for just about everybody. TRW fuses the sound of Toto and Bad Company, and overlays it onto a blues/jazz/fusion/rock template. It might sound complicated, but don't let it be.. just know that all three musos are world class, and anything released by them is worth a look. Initially, when I first read up on this album, the press wasn't that great. But upon deeper inspection, the people writing the reviews weren't the sort of people who should've been listening to this album anyway, let alone writing about it! I mean, what the heck are heavy metal sites reviewing this album for? I prefer to use my own ears as my guide, and 'Rivers Of Paradise' comes home to roost. I was a huge fan of Williamson's 1994 solo album 'Time Slipping By', so if you've heard that one, and factor in the presence of MT and JR, then you'd be like a pig in ***t!


The Songs
After the brief intro 'Set My Spirit Free', the band let loose on the title track 'Rivers Of Paradise', which rocks out intially in a Toto style, particularly their more recent work (a la 'Falling In Between'). It's good stuff, great chorus, and some trademark Thompson guitar licks to remind everyone of his tone and sound. I love the midwest John Kilzer/Hunter-Greer like flavour of 'Hold On', simple and understated. I can hear the wheat rustling in the wind! 'Indiscretion' takes on a Bad Company persona, with MT fanning the slide guitar in the same way as Mick Ralphs used to. You can feel the heat rising off the steamy pavement with 'Gonna Be Some Changes'. The blues/rock vibe is accentuated with some gospel backing vocals, the mid-section heads into an extended jam like session, with Thompson leading the way!

The standout tracks from Williamson's 'Time Slipping By' album were a couple of ballads. He matches those with the touch tender 'Only A Letter', with his passionate vocal delivery an album highlight. JR sets the metronome on 'Hard Time Love', an uptempo fun time blues based rocker. The production is quite upfront on this one, with everyone on high alert! 'One Good Woman' reverts back to the latter day sound of Bad Company. If you can also imagine a band like Blanc Faces getting a bit uppity in the studio, then you have a good idea as to what this track is all about. Perhaps the best track for me (other than the title track and the ballad 'Only A Letter') is 'Love Comes Calling'. It moves in the same vein as Michael Bolton circa his 'The Hunger' era. Certainly, Mark does have a slight Bolton-ish feel to his voice in places. The album finishes off with a traditional blues workout titled 'Alimony Blues', still it's layered with a ton of vibe and atmospherics whilst being soaked in tube amped reverb and flanger.


In Summary
'Rivers Of Paradise' is a sassy album which will appeal to this site's readership, though strictly speaking, it is not an AOR album. This is the sort of album to let unwind on a lazy Sunday afternoon, while your sipping on a Margarita! Hopefully these guys will stay together for another album's worth of material, because they have found a niche that will appeal to a wide variety of listeners. As for killer ballads, put 'Only A Letter' on repeat play.


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Comments
#1 | Jez on January 09 2009 01:32:11
No doubting Michael Thompsons talent as a guitarist and he shows off his nice subtle playing on this one. This is nice, Bluesy Melodic rock with a hint of AOR that, initially, didn't exactly blow my socks off on first spin, but after a few spins, wormed its way into the old memory bank and after playing this back recently, it sounds pretty damned good. Songs are pretty consistent throughout, although may lack a killer chorus here and there. That being said, 'Rivers' does contain some great tracks, 'Rivers Of Paradise', 'Only A Letter' and especially 'Hard Time Love' are all excellent and my standout tracks. 'Rivers' features a good production job too, without being overly polished and besides Thompsons excellent playing, features good, solid performances from Mark Williamson and John Robinson (Both ex Bridge 2 Far). All in all a thumbs up from me, lacking one ot two excellent tracks, but a keeper all the same.
 
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