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20-11-2017 22:15
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Articles Home » 1987 Articles » Boulevard (Sweden) - 1987 Whats Up
Boulevard (Sweden) - 1987 Whats Up

ARTIST: Boulevard (Sweden)
ALBUM: Whats Up
LABEL: Satelit Records
YEAR: 1987
CD REISSUE: 2012, Yesterrock, Y-2012-25
SPONSOR: Germusica


LINEUP: Roy El Hoshi - vocals * Dick Börtner, Lennart Widegren - guitars * Mikael Magnusso - bass * Morgan Pettersson - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Solid As A Rock * 02 Fallen Angel * 03 On The Line * 04 Give Me Love * 05 Surrender * 06 I'm What You Need * 07 Heart Of A Stranger * 08 Running * 09 Still On My Way * 10 Bad Lover * 11 Millions Of Faces * 12 On The Line (demo) * 13 Still On My Way (demo) * 14 Running (demo)

1987 was a pretty good year for AOR, especially out of Sweden. However, two bands from that era did not make the grade in my humbled opinion. One of them was Stallion, previously reviewed here. The other one was this lot called Boulevard. A bit of a kick to the goolies then, as there was another excellent band out of Canada carrying the same handle, so name association was no mean feat back then. So what exactly was the reason why this band were so bad, and therefore why are we reviewing them? The answer to that question lies at the hands and feet of Yesterrock Records. In their infinite wisdom, they have decided to reissue what once was a small time release on a small label called Satelit Records. The original record did not cut it then, nor does it cut it now after 25 years, even with a fancy remastering job. Sure, there are a load of tracks on this album, but quantity does not necessarily make for quality, as the old saying goes.

The Songs
When the opening strands of 'Solid As A Rock' waft through the speakerspace, I am reminded of all those Belgian speed metal outfits signed to the Mausoleum label some five years earlier. The guitars cut and thrust all over the place, but the vocals of Roy El Hoshi (is that his real name?) aren't the best, and the drums are rather 'tinny' sounding and could do with a Max Norman production tweak to make them stand out. The song titles are all rather derivative too, and the first hint of keyboards appear on the second track 'Fallen Angel', but is let down by shoddy vocals, the group chorus in particular is a disappointment. 'On The Line' is godawful, the chants and shout-outs sound like a bunch of drunken Viking warriors.. you get my drift. By now, I'm trying to find a half-decent song to recommend, and I'm not having much luck. 'I'm What You Need' moves into a party vibe, but they've got nothing on Easy Action or Sha Boom who do it so much better. Finally, 'Heart Of A Stranger' gives us an idea as to Boulevard's potential, but the vocals still suck. 'Running' features a dual combination of guitars and keyboards working in tandem, it's not too bad, but 'Still On My Way' is the band's first attempt at a power ballad which understandably they aren't able to pull off. 'Bad Lover' is a racy melodic rocker/AOR track which is better than most, if only for the insistent keyboard lines. 'Millions Of Faces' completes this sorry affair, a mid-paced rocker that tries hard, but eventually it's like pushing a 10 ton boulder up a steep hill.

In Summary
The 2012 reissue features three demos of tracks already on the main album: 'On The Line', Still On My Way' and 'Running'. The quality is pretty bad, but they are demos so that's to be expected. I'll give the band their due.. the guitars and keyboards don't sound too bad overall, it's just that the album is spoilt by below average vocals and (as mentioned) a limp-wristed drum sound. Just quite why Yesterrock felt compelled to reissue 'What's Up' is beyond comprehension. Along with the Midnight Blue reissue, it would have to rate as one of the years stranger reissue decisions. Give a wide berth if you know what's good for you.

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