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Articles Home » 2011 Articles » Shadowman - 2011 Watching Over You
 
Shadowman - 2011 Watching Over You



ARTIST: Shadowman
ALBUM: Watching Over You
LABEL: Escape Music
SERIAL: ESM 224
YEAR: 2011

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Steve Overland - lead vocals * Steve Morris - guitar * Chris Childs - bass * Harry James - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Across The Universe * 02 Renegades * 03 Cry * 04 Watching Over You * 05 Are You Ready * 06 Suzanne * 07 Waiting For A Miracle * 08 Stop Breaking This Heart * 09 Heaven Waits * 10 Whatever It Takes * 11 Justify * 12 Party Is Over

RATING:

WEBLINKS:


Background
The Steve Overland / Steve Morris collaboration known as Shadowman is back for round 4 on this 2011 album that we managed to ignore on its release. Better late than never, I say, as these guys are definitely worthy of mention here. Their 2008 release 'Ghost In The Mirror' was a pretty dang good collection of catchy tunes wrapped up in an enjoyable AOR package. To me, they definitely fulfilled their potential on that album after two solid prior albums. In addition to the two Steves, the rhythm section of Chris Childs and Harry James from Thunder is back. I consider them to be a vital part of the sound.


The Songs
My one qualm with 'Ghost In The Mirror' was that the first two songs were a little incongruent with the rest of the album. I don't think I feel quite the same on this one, but that's mainly because I think the overall style of this album is somewhat different. 'Across The Universe' is a fine opener, a little more proggy than expected, but a good song to set expectations. Morris gets out the Hammond organ sound, which is a sound you'll hear quite a bit for the next 55 minutes. The second song, 'Renegades' is a pretty hard affair, the hardest so far on their first four albums. It's not the most melodic song out there, but the execution makes it a good listen. And it serves to make 'Cry' seem even more like the ballad it is. The title track has another excellent Hammond organ solo, followed by a blistering guitar solo. Great execution. If this album had come out 25 - 30 years prior, 'Are You Ready' may very well have been the lead single. It is very reminiscent of what Bryan Adams was doing around that time. 'Suzanne' is the highlight for me, a fast-paced rocker with some nice nuances that keep it stuck in your head. 'Waiting For A Miracle' is one where unfortunately the chorus doesn't measure up to the rest of the song. But the rest of it is quite impressive. Again, the solo break starts with the organ leading to guitar. And I think the start of the song is quite similar to 'Colour Of Your Love' from the prior album. Another radio-friendly tune is 'Stop Breaking This Heart Of Mine'. Around the 2:30 mark is a musical phrase that I know I've heard before - I just can't figure out where. It sounds pretty cool in this song, too. The moody and brooding 'Heaven Waits' is another nice one. The third of the more radio-friendly tunes is 'Whatever It Takes', which does sound like it could have been a hit in a different era. 'Justify' is another pure AOR song with some crunchy guitar work. I think the band throws a bit of a curveball with closer 'Party Is Over', more of a jangly tune.


In Summary
I discovered the four Shadowman albums at the same time just over a year ago, so I didn't get to let them settle into my brain one at a time. I found 'Ghost In The Mirror' to be a pretty near-perfect album, and that of course makes it hard to top. It seems the band sacrificed a little melody here in order to show their musical chops a little more, which makes this more of a musician's record and a slightly different listening experience. And the musicianship is excellent, with Morris being a master of multiple guitar styles, as well as nailing the classic Hammond organ sound. If you are a fan of Steve Overland, and you missed this one when it came out, you ought to check it out.


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