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World Trade - 2017 Unify




ARTIST: World Trade
ALBUM: Unify
LABEL: Frontiers
SERIAL: FRCD 808
YEAR: 2017
SPONSOR: Frontiers Haulix Portal

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Billy Sherwood - bass, lead vocals * Bruce Gowdy - guitars * Guy Allison - keyboards * Mark T. Williams - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 The New Norm * 02 Where We're Going * 03 Pandora's Box * 04 On Target On Time * 05 Gone All The Way * 06 Unify * 07 For The Fallen * 08 Lifeforce * 09 Same Old Song * 10 Again

RATING:


Background
These guys had only released two albums under the World Trade banner in their history. But, they've been busy for thirty plus years, with the personnel involved in many other ventures including Stone Fury, Lodgic, Unruly Child, The Key, Air Supply, Circa and Yes. Just recently, Billy Sherwood also picked up a gig to replace the late John Wetton in Asia, while Gowdy and Allison had the latest Unruly Child CD released only a few weeks ago. No rest for the wicked as they say. We have to wind the clock back 22 years since World Trade's last CD 'Euphoria', which was (in anticipation of this new release) reviewed only recently.


The Songs
The Frontiers bio for this CD mentions a style in the vein of the 1987 album from Yes: 'Big Generator', plus the more recent excursions from Toto. Certainly, 'Unify' leans more to the progressive side of the boundary, with arrangements and musical passages justifying this statement. 'the new Norm' starts things off in a bright fashion, some string parts within would have you thinking this is a Kansas inspired event. Not quite. 'Where We're Going' does well to break free of the prog pigeon-hole, some select guitar from Gowdy and a nifty synth solo from Allison take it up a notch. 'Pandora's Box' heads in a direction I'm more comfortable with. Quite hi-tech and spritely sounding, maybe a nod in the vicinity of Mr Mister and Bourgeois Tagg in their heyday. 'On Target On Time' was a jarring musical experience which I'd rather move on from quickly. Both 'Gone All The Way' and the title-track 'Unify' are long-winded excursions (hence the prog term being applied liberally). So too the remainder of the album which proved to be a journey too far for these melody encrusted ears.


In Summary
Looking back on it, the first World Trade I thought was rather good, the follow-up 'Euphoria' a complete disappointment. With the passing of time, 'Unify' has some nice moments, and even though the membership of the band is world class, I still find them an awkward band to listen to. I've never been that keen on Sherwood's voice nor his lyrical waxing, preferring instead to focus on Gowdy's guitar work and Allison's keyboard dexterity. There's something about them that just doesn't quite land on the main page for mine, and that's probably the overview I'll keep with me regarding this record.


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Comments

#1 | Explorer on July 18 2017 18:23:31
I'm looking forward to getting hold of this album, as the first two are both excellent releases.

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