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Stanley, Michael: Shadowland

A few weeks back when I reviewed Michael Stanley's Just Another Night album I suggested that I had been missing out on an artist of some note and that I therefore had some serious catching up to do. Well with having now caught up with Stanley's most recent release Shadowland, it would appear that I was spot on.

Following on in the same style as Just Another Night, Shadowland is another tremendous collection of rock with a touch of Americana and large dollops of the likes of Springsteen, Mellencamp and Jackson Browne, without ever sounding like an attempt to copy any of them. Actually you can add the rockier vibe of Bob Seger and the sharper focus of Tom Petty to that list as well, but this is pure and simple Michael Stanley. Kicking in with the mighty percussive whack and keyboard supported riff of "It's Al About Tonight", it is once more clear from the get-go that Michael Stanley has the sharp hook laden songs and seductive vocal tones that suggest, well actually demand that he should be a household name! From there Shadowland is another wonderful romp through heartfelt slower numbers, punchy rock and mid tempo atmospheres. In terms of his voice alone, Stanley is a consummate story teller and really has the full, rich tones needed to reach the masses, but to also keep things genuine and uncontrived not an easy trick to pull off. Add to that excellent guitar work from Danny Powers, Marc Lee Shannon, Bobby Latina and Stanley himself and a simply sumptuous keyboard display from Bob Pelander and you really have the basis of some of the most affecting American rock music you could hope to find.

Highlights come thick and fast and whether it is the considered beat, singing solo and inspiring "we're stronger if we stick together" lyric of "I Am You", the deep, dirty, brass infused groove of "Shadowland", or the piano led nod to the past of "Skinny Jeans" there isn't even the hint of a missed step in sight.

Shadowland is a classy, accessible, yet beautifully crafted album that will have a huge appeal for anyone interested in any of the artists mentioned in this review, or for that matter, any lover of striking and ageless American rock music.

Track Listing
1. It's All About Tonight
2. I Am You
3. My Brand New Day
4. Come On Down
5. Shadowland
6. A Good Idea At The Time
7. When She Falls
8. Skinny Jeans
9. I'm Not Finished Loving You
10. Maybe
11. How's That Working Out For You
12. Elegant Mess
13. Nice While It Lasted

Added: May 28th 2011
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link:
Hits: 2432
Language: english

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