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Rio - 1985 Borderland



ARTIST: Rio
ALBUM: Borderland
LABEL: Music For Nations
SERIAL: MFN 53
YEAR: 1985
CD REISSUE: 2010, Krescendo Records, KRECD52

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Jon Neill - vocals, guitars * Steve Rodford - drums, bass, keyboards

TRACK LISTING: 01 I Don't Wanna Be The Fool * 02 Straight To The Heart * 03 Tommy Can't Help It * 04 Better This Time * 05 State Of Emergency * 06 Shy Girl * 07 She's A Virgin * 08 Close To You * 09 Borderland


Background
A very classy pairing of UK musicians going under the hammer as Rio. It's just as well we picked up on them as an AOR act, as they could quite easily have been mistaken for a new romantic type band a la Duran Duran. God help us. Anyway, our duo of Jon Neill (real name Willoughby) and Steve Rodford look like a pair of space cadets on the back cover, with jump suits and test track Air Nikes being tested out in the desert. The music thankfully is not as dry or as rarified as the desert air, but is North American styled FM radio rock, sounding anything but British. Mostly it's warm and upbeat melodica, if a little unoriginal at times.


The Songs
Despite the 'love lost' lyrics on the album opener, 'I Don't Wanna Be The Fool' is quite an enjoyable romp with a smooth delivery and warm harmony vocals. 'Straight To the Heart' is an urgent rocker where the pulsing bass lines help keep the song tight and focused. One can't help thinking that 'Tommy Can't Help It' has indeed been helped by Journey's 'Send Her My Love' (off 'Frontiers'). That's a nice compliment chaps but perhaps don't make it so obvious next time. 'Better This Time' has some nice keyboard parts on top of what is primarily a guitar driven track. The musical style shown on the awesome 'State Of Emergency' is one that Rio excel at, and this track is a definite highlight. They increase the tempo on 'Shy Girl' while musically 'She's A Virgin' is superb AOR despite the naff lyrics. Why couldn't you sing about something else Jon? 'Close To You' does come close to the classic I-Ten track 'Quicksand Shoes' but ultimately can't hold a candle to it, while the title track 'Borderland' grinds out to the finish in a moody and steamy fashion.


In Summary
Without doubt Rio are a great duo with their hearts definitely settled in Melodic Boulevard. There are a few small niggly things that crop up when you listen to it back to back, but by and large they provide an admirable fillip to the roster of melodic rock acts which came out of the UK during the eighties.


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Comments
#1 | reyno-roxx on July 16 2008 15:29:59
I think it's about time someone got the licence to release these two albums officially on CD. The bootlegs still go for silly prices on e-Bay.
#2 | reyno-roxx on February 28 2011 20:56:34
..talking of which, just gained a copy of the Krescendo version...dearie me, bit of a f**k up on the track listing. Track six is actually 'Casualty' (from the B-side of 'I Don't Wanna Be The Fool' 45) and thus the closing title track has been left off altogether....
#3 | swazi on November 04 2012 10:39:43
Agreed, this was a lousy job done by Krescendo, a label that doesn't seem to care about details. What a pity! But a great release nevertheless.
 
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