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Articles Home » 1987 Articles » Bystander - 1987 Not So Innocent
Bystander - 1987 Not So Innocent

ARTIST: Bystander
ALBUM: Not So Innocent
LABEL: ABS Records
SERIAL: A.B.S. 476
YEAR: 1987
CD REISSUE: 1995, Long Island Records, LIRC 00052


LINEUP: Bucky Naughton - lead vocals, drums, percussion * Andy Kiely - lead vocals, bass * Mike Weaver - keyboards, vocals * Stanley Steele - guitars, vocals

Other Musicians: Britt Savage, Shelly Thompson, Mitch Malloy, Shore Fire Choir - background vocals * Mick Steely, Paul Wegmann, Mike Gormaley - synthesizer * Scott Kreitzer, Randy Andos, Barry Danielian, Steve Guttman - horn * Jimmy Callahan - simmons drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Welcome To The Real World * 02 Running In Circles * 03 Desiree * 04 Love Games * 05 Let Me In * 06 I Can't Stop * 07 Out Of The Night * 08 Someway Somehow * 09 You're History * 10 Momma Lao * 11 Welcome To The Real World (Dance Mix) * 12 What Do All The People Know (Bonus) * 13 All The Time In The World (Bonus)

This band should've been reviewed ages ago! So let's cover some old ground with New Jersey based Bystander. An outfit that were quite well known on the Jersey Shore strip, the band have been through many line-up changes. Their strengths include multiple vocal harmonies and a pure AOR sound from that mid-late 80's timeframe when studio gimmickry and effects resulted in many over-produced albums. Bystander's sound is quite pomp and hi-tech sounding, taking bits of many contemporaries of the day - too many to name here.

The Songs
If it's AOR as the pure driven snow that you require, then the opening pair of 'Welcome To The Real World' and 'Running In Circles' should satisfy your requirement. Lovely stuff. 'Desiree' is a guitar driven rocker in the vein of Detroit outfit Adrenalin, it's followed by another AOR special in 'Love Games' with vocal harmonies and synth layers galore. 'Let Me In' has a very Canadian feel to it, think Stan Meissner, Jato and other similar acts. 'I Can't Stop' is quite hi-tech sounding, somewhere between Bourgeois Tagg and Mr Mister. One of my favourite tracks is the pomp-tastic 'Out Of The Night'. It really doesn't get better than this one - check it out! Changing tack is the very ambient sounding 'Someway Somehow'. Seems the reverb units are turned up to full for this track, another lovely aural display. Bystander return to AOR mode with 'You're History', but divert to a commercial synth number with 'Momma Lao', which has appeal in the same way that Mike And The Mechanics did with their material.

In Summary
Though the album was initially released on a very small local NJ label, it achieved wider spread acclaim several years later due to a reissue on the Long Island Records label. Containing several bonus tracks, the reissue was notable for including a dance mix version of 'Welcome To The Real World'.. certainly different! The band reappeared with a new album (also on Long Island) called 'Stranger Things Have Happened'. I haven't heard that CD as yet, but it seems the album was also very good but not quite as good as 'Not So Innocent'. Heartily recommended, try and track both of the Bystander albums down to complete your collection.

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#1 | Jez on March 22 2009 21:16:54
Excellent album. The title track is indeed an excellent example of mid/ late 80's aor being peddled by many great artists at the time. The only let down is the dodgy dance mix bonus track which should have been left well alone.The Follow up 'Stranger Things Have Happened' is a cracker aswell.
#2 | super80boy on January 03 2016 01:03:26
There just enough diversity in the song structures to give each song the creativity to stand on its own. Bystander pump through a wide variety of styles to indulge in, AOR, High Tech, Pomp, Melodic Rock...Some of these mid 80's synth rock AOR albums can get formulaic and mundane, but not this one! A superb debut album with skillful production values intact.
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