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Drive, She Said: Real Life (remix/remaster)

A duo comprising the vocal and guitar talent of Al Fritsch (who sadly died last year) and the keyboard and drum skills of Mark Mangold, Drive, She Said released their classic pomp infused AOR debut album back in 1989 and followed it up with the simply fantastic Drivin' Wheel two years later. However, with the musical tide changing, 93's Excelerator simply got lost in the torrent of Seattle inspired upheaval and the band disappeared. Until 2003 that is, when the surprise reunion of Fritsch and Mangold (with drummer Jonathan Mover) resulted in the Real Life album.

Basically picking up from where their first three releases left off, the mix of pompous keyboards, gloriously layered vocals and pinpoint guitar forays remained in evidence. However something seemed to be slightly missing and for all that the songs were still inspiring, the album itself sounded a little flat. Now with Mangold and Brian Anthony getting together to remix and remaster the album, Real Life breathes again and reveals itself to be the equal of DSS's excellent earlier work. Knowing what to highlight first is a real challenge here, Fritsch's vocals layered in stunning style, while the keyboard work from Mangold is forceful, bright and dramatic. It may not always be the driving force, but when you add in the dartingly memorable guitar lines that Fritsch was also such a master at providing, there's simply no denying that this is top notch melodic rock with a progressive edge.

At times urgent and direct ("Find Your Place"), at others tender and heartfelt ("Hold Me"), Real Life is never content to sit too readily in one singular groove, rather it constantly offers new paths and directions, all within the framework of what made DSS so irresistible. Credit to Mangold and Anthony, because this updated version sounds fantastic and immediately negates the issues from which the original suffered. The separation between the instruments now finds a clarity that doesn't detract from the grandiose nature of much of what's on offer, the album's title cut running the gamut of influences and ideas as Fritsch fires out a simply stunning and sympathetic guitar solo. Although it will be "Stronger" that you're left singing, humming and cracking out the beat to long after Real Life stops spinning; this was Drive, She Said at the peak of their powers.

Another thirteen years would pass before 2016's Pedal To The Metal would see Fritsch and Mangold reunite once more for what has proved to be the final album from their band. However with this refreshed and much improved version of Real Life, Mark Mangold has assured that the legacy that he and his much missed bandmate built, will live on for a long time to come.

Track Listing
1. Real Life
2. Stronger
3. We Live For Love
4. Whats it Gonna Take
5. Silverwhite
6. Overdrive
7. Find Your Place
8. All Your Heart
9. Hold Me
10. When WIll It Be Love
11. How Can I Be Sure
12. Always and Forever (Godz)
13. Believe

Added: March 17th 2018
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Real Life @ Escape Music
Hits: 2192
Language: english

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