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Loverboy: Rock 'n' Roll Revival

Rock 'n' Roll Revival is the latest release from veteran Canadian rockers Loverboy, and it's mostly a 're-recorded greatest hits set' with three new tunes thrown in for good measure. The band, who in 2012 have most of the original guys back together (Mike Reno, Paul Dean, Doug Johnson, Matt Frenette, and Ken "Spider" Sinnaeve), now find themselves on Frontiers Records, a label that basically has a stronghold on most of the popular melodic hard rock & metal acts these days.

The new songs the band have on offer here are solid enough commercial hard rock/AOR fare, featuring all the trademark Loverboy characteristics, such as big hooks, soaring vocals from Mike Reno, chunky guitars courtesy of Paul Dean, a sprinkling of keyboards, and an 'arena rock' feel. The title track and "Heartbreaker" are fun, radio friendly rockers, while "No Tomorrow" is more of a catchy ballad, all three worthy additions to the Loverboy repertoire. As for the re-recorded hits, well, as we've seen countless older acts do in recent years, not much is improved upon, but if you are a fan of some of these Loverboy classics, it's an enjoyable listen. Reno's vocals have held up pretty well over the years, though he does have a hard time hitting some of the high notes on a few tunes. Many of the riffs from Dean are more pronounced and heavier on these new versions, which will certainly be a plus for most fans, as "Turn Me Loose", "Working For the Weekend", "Lovin' Every Minute", "The Kid Is Hot Tonight", and "Lucky Ones" rock quite hard. Even "Hot Girls in Love" packs some guitar firepower, as Dean seems intent on showing the world that he's always been one of the more underrated players out there.Thankfully most of the ballads have been left off here, allowing the band to recreate their more aggressive material, as the closest you get to the romantic ballads are "Always On My Mind", "Queen of the Broken Hearts", and "When It's Over", each one given upbeat treatment here.

For the Loverboy completist, Rock 'n' Roll Revival will probably be a must own, though casual fans who already have one of their few greatest hits collections can probably skip this and purchase the new tracks separately. It's a solid set nontheless that shows that Loverboy still have plenty left in the tank.

Track Listing
1. Rock 'N' Roll Revival 4:14
2. No Tomorrow 4:42
3. Heartbreaker 3:57
4. Turn Me Loose 5:57
5. Working for the Weekend 3:53
6. Lovin' Every Minute 5:23
7. The Kid Is Hot Tonight 4:32
8. Lucky Ones 4:05
9. Always On My Mind 3:42
10. Queen of the Broken Hearts 4:03
11. When It's Over 5:34
12. Hot Girls in Love 7:57

Added: October 1st 2012
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2855
Language: english

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Loverboy: Rock 'n' Roll Revival
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2012-10-01 16:59:16
My Score:

Much though melodic rock and AOR are staples of my listening habits, the appeal of Loverboy has always somehow passed me by. I have tried to get into the band and indeed have a couple of their releases as well as their greatest hits set Big Ones. However while there's no doubt that Mike Reno possesses a rich voice and that guitarist Paul Dean knows his way round a fret-board, the results just come across as fair to middling melodic rock, with a bit of added bite thrown into the mix. To these ears, there just isn't enough originality to the band's sound, which considering the individuality of other Canadian rock acts (April Wine, Coney Hatch, Max Webster anyone??), is all the more surprising. However whatever my thoughts, the band tapped into the AOR boom of the 80s and carved a more than successful niche for themselves in an extremely crowded marketplace. Somewhere along the line however Loverboy got lost in the mix, with their success not transferring into the long term adulation that say Journey, Foreigner, or even REO Speedwagon have maintained, and while their 2007 album Just Getting Started was widely acclaimed, it has taken five years for any sort of comeback to appear. And truth be told, Rock N Roll Revival is poorly named and no sort of comeback at all.

That may sound harsh, but this is another album in a somewhat tedious fashion of a band re-recording their own material and while it may (quite rightly) allow Loverboy to "reclaim" their own music, it doesn't exactly make for an essential purchase. Especially when the re-recordings in question are unquestionably questionable at best! For a band with such a lengthy career and reasonably high pedigree, the sloppiness of the sound on RnRR really is more than a little disappointing. There's little clarity and while the intention may well have been to capture a live in the studio vibe, the end results are just cluttered and rushed. If you are a fan of the band, then you'll already love "Working For The Weekend", "The Kid Is Hot Tonight" and "Queen Of The Broken Heart". However even longstanding devotees will struggle with the extended jam that closes "Hot Girls In Love". It all sounds a bit like the sort of jams me and the guys used to batter out many years ago in my bedroom - not a good thing!

The three new songs on the other hand sound a bit more polished, offering up a tougher vibe than previously expected from Loverboy. The title track struts and swaggers with parping keys and tinkling piano fighting with a ballsy riff and keen vocal, while "No Tomorrow" uses the AOR-country vibe that is so popular these days to pretty decent, if forgettable effect. "Heartbreaker" rounds out the newbies in fine style with an urgency and drive lacking elsewhere on this album.

If there's anything good to come from this release, it is that Loverboy may well be headed down a more interesting path with their new tracks. However as a package, Rock N Roll Revival just doesn't cut it as there are many other releases still available with original - better - versions of the old songs, leaving any potential new fans disappointed and devoted Loverboy followers short-changed.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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