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Nazareth - 1986 Cinema



ARTIST: Nazareth
ALBUM: Cinema
LABEL: Vertigo
SERIAL: 830 300-2
YEAR: 1986
CD REISSUE: 1997, Essential Records, ESMCD 500 * 2001, Eagle, EAMCD 128

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Dan McCafferty - vocals * Manny Charlton - guitars * Pete Agnew, bass, guitars * Darrell Sweet - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Cinema * 02 Juliet * 03 Just Another Heartache * 04 Other Side Of You * 05 Hit The Fan * 06 One From The Heart * 07 Salty Salty * 08 White Boy * 09 A Veterans Song

WEBLINKS: www.nazarethdirect.co.uk/


Background
I am a total novice regarding Nazareth, with only 'The Fool Circle' in my collection, which to be honest I can't remember the last time I played it. I am aware of many of their classics, but mainly by versions performed by other groups say, Britny Fox. With many favourable reviews of their latest, 'The Newz' (only heard tracks on myspace, while good, not good enough for me to go out and purchase the CD, sorry!) it might be a good time to revisit their back catalogue, so while I may not be best placed to cast my views I have chosen 'Cinema'. So why did I buy this one? Well, I have always read that this album had the most AOR tendencies, even citing similarities to Journey. While I can not totally agree with this statement (actually some songs are AOR and are subsequently very good), many of the tracks are what I would call traditional Nazareth tunes. This album was the follow up to the 1984 opus, 'The Catch' , while 'Cinema' was originally released in 1986, it never warranted a UK release at the time.


The Songs
We are eased into the CD quite gently with the title track, which has a very similar chorus to Aerosmith's 'Sweet Emotion', in that the chorus is very simple. Next up is the stomper, 'Juliet', you would be rightly mistaken to think that the track was called, 'Two Hearts'. It comes across as a harder version of Jimmy Barnes, see the Scottish connection? With the next track 'Just Another Heartache' is where it becomes very interesting, this is my favourite and what you would expect with such a fluffy song title, it contains the most AOR styling of the album. Even the vocals are melodic, with Dan McCafferty losing much of his 'gruffness', it sounds as if he has been guggling on a concoction of soft pink flowers and butterflies. A great vocal performance on this track and up there with any great US AOR band at that time. If the whole album was like this, could well be a classic, but we are headed off at the crossroads with the next track, 'Other Side Of You' where the band choose to go down the classic Nazareth road, rather than heading for a new direction, which they can't really be faulted for, it wouldn't be Nazareth. This track rumbles on like a speeding train, with a AC/DC sound. 'Hit The Fan' is a mixture of ZZ Top without the synths and drum machines and a ditty that Mama's Boys could always be relied on to pen. It's more appealing than the preceding number and has a rip roaring chorus, I'm beginning to like these as well. 'One From The Heart' and its back to more melodic rock, and I am reminded of a couple of Canadians like The Arrows and Eddie Schwartz, this is much more commerically minded, even pop with the 'tinny' guitar sound. 'Salty Salty' and we return to the Brian Johnson mould and while its a OK tune, I feel it is not to the same standard as the earlier tracks. The CD finishes with 2 more songs, one being 'White Boy' which comes across again like Jimmy Barnes, who himself could excel at AOR, but always seemed to fighting at the same time with his natural instincts of a more traditional rock n roll/blues, very much where Nazareth seems to be sitting with this CD. 'A Veteran's Song' (quite suitable as I aw writing this on the 11 November) is a more plodding (not really a inspiring explanation is it?) number which does tend to drag on and I regret I find myself flicking onto the bonus tracks found on the 2001 CD release. The 30th Anniversary Edition (the name for the whole series, rather this one specifically) is digitally remastered with bonus tracks, which I would give special mention of another version of 'Just Another Heartache' which has a real I-Ten inspired introduction, which I actually prefer, and reminds me of another UK band, Grand Prix.


In Summary
Ok, maybe I approached this album in the wrong way, wanting it to be an AOR classic, which it could have been, but while there are quite a number of good melodic tracks I am still rewarded with some more natural Nazareth tracks which after repeated plays I do enjoy, however some still failed to inspire. It is definitely worth investigating and I would be interested to know if any more of their releases tread a similar path. What Nazareth attempted to do here is very much what other golden age of British rock has done in the past, like Jethro Tull and Uriah Heep, add touches to their sound but are still tied to they own musical culture that they have established over the last 30 years.


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Comments
#1 | AOR Lee on December 22 2012 05:18:27
Nazareth were trying to have the best of both worlds here, maintaining enough of their classic sound as well as escalating the AOR factor on several tracks, as Chris has mentioned. The bonus version of Just Another Heartache right near the end of the cd is sublime AOR, easily the best thing on the disc
 
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