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Articles Home » 2004 Articles » Alex, Sam - 2004 Pieces
 
Alex, Sam - 2004 Pieces


SAM ALEX - PIECES (2004, BASIC ENTERTAINMENT/SKY PRODUCTIONS)
Sam Alex - vocals
Bobby Altvater - guitars, bass, arranging
Armin Woods - keyboards
Michael Schwager - drums


Background
From the same stable that bought you the German band Affair, comes another budding melodic rocker with his heart (and ears for that matter) in the right place. His name is Sam Alex, and he looks like he's stepped right out of another era.. a more melodic one at that! The man has instigated the help of Munich based Sky Studios head-honcho Bobby Altvater. Now you know the connection to the band Affair, as Bobby and Belgian screamer Peter De Wint are the two leading lights of that band. Though this debut album from Sam called 'Pieces' is an 11 track promo and due for release very shortly, it certainly has a lot going for it. To these ears, it sounds like early Casanova meeting Belgian rocker Askari, with a little bit (not too much) of Frontline thrown in there for good measure. The songs are certainly ear-catchy, a heap of melody, strong also in the vocal harmony area, and it contains a lot of good ideas.

The Songs
Things get off to a great start with the surging melodic rock of 'Back In Love', those insistent keys tapping away on the chorus underneath some A1 approved rhythm guitar from Altvater will surely get AORsters interested. The Casanova comparison kicks in on 'Do It Your Way', though thankfully the Michael Voss vocalisms are nowhere to be seen this time around. It's commercial hard rock all the way on 'Chance To Win', again a nod to Casanova in the red corner. The pairing of 'Saturday Night' and 'Dancing With Tears In My Eyes' (what the hell does that mean?) are similar in sound, the latter apart from the dopey name and lyrics is actually a co-write between the likes of Midge Ure, Bill Currie, Christopher Cross and Warren Cann no less! I wonder what they were thinking when they wrote this tune? Anyhow, Sam and Bobby turn it into a Danger Danger/Sic Vikki type workout, so all is saved! When you hear a track like 'Feel The Fire', everything smacks of formularized AOR. The name, the familiar verse-bridge-chorus structure, but to be fair, this one holds quite a bit of interest regardless. I'm sure one of the interesting tunes onboard is a rendition of Robbie Valentine's 'Magic Breeze', the opening cut off his 1992 self titled album. Not a perfect copy by any means (and you wouldn't want it to be surely?), but the mere attempt at playing this complex tune is a feat in itself, so well done to Sam and Bobby! On the other hand, 'Tears Are Falling' has a lot of depth and atmospherics to it, whereas 'Sounds Like A Melody' goes in the other direction, with a heap of intricate keyboard lines bordering on a crossover progressive style. Sam and partners-in-crime finish off in an AOR flurry with their parting gesture being 'Hold On'. Pick the eyes out of this one people!! Too many for me to name..

In Summary
I've only recently started giving this a whirl on the CD player, and I'm liking it the more I listen to it. I'm sure you will too. It is definitely on the AOR/melodic rock side of the footpath, and after a few plays it will get to you like the Tax Man inevitably does. If you like that hard rock scene out of Munich, then investigate further. Oh also, talking of things Munich, watch out for the new Boysvoice album, certain to hit the shelves (and this website too no doubt) during 2004.

Track Time: 48.42
Sponsor: Sky Productions

Track Listing:
01 Back In Love
02 Do It Your Way
03 Chance To Win
04 Saturday Night
05 Dancing With Tears In My Eyes
06 Feel The Fire
07 Magic Breeze
08 Tears Falling
09 Sounds Like A Melody
10 Get It All
11 Hold On

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