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Jon Butcher Axis: Stare At The Sun

Having recently reissued the self titled 1983 Jon Butcher Axis album, Escape Music back that cult classic up with the equally in demand Stare At The Sun, which originally followed the debut in 1984. With such a quick turn around, it’s no surprise that those involved on the two albums remained the same, Butcher joined by drummer Derek Blevins, bassist Christopher Martin and producer and engineer Pat Moran. Together this was a tight quartet with a distinct sound that built bridges between the AOR aura that was omni-present at the time and something a little more guitar fixated; Butcher being a strong admirer of a certain Mr. Hendrix.

However, possessing a voice that reminds of pre-croon Michael Bolton, Butcher had more than just his six string as a weapon and when you hear his powerful vocal attack on the ballad “Dreams Fade Away”, you really do wonder why this band never reached wider acclaim. Even here there’s a tasty guitar solo, the obvious six string talent on show enough to occasionally take the breath away. “Stay Low” is more bullish in illustrating that side of things, but not without an equally catchy chorus, or bright production, while “Wind It Up” pulses with a surging beat and joyful kick. But then all ten tracks are winners here, “Can’t Tell The Dancer From The Dance” a funky little slice of atmospheric rock, while “Eros Arriving” adds a little more of a technical AOR edge. On the latter the guitars land somewhere between oriental shards of light and a Big Country twang. With added handclaps, it’s certainly a song of its time, but try not to hammer out the beat as it bounds past, and you’ll soon be defeated by this uber-catchy pop rock.

As with its predecessor, Stare At The Sun couldn’t propel the Jon Butcher Axis to success and by 1985 Butcher would be back without his band. Moving labels from Polydor to Capital and with only Blevins surviving the evolution, the Jon Butcher album, ironically called Along The Axis, would reportedly be the guitarist’s biggest commercial hit. However, even with Spencer Proffer (the man behind much of Quiet Riot’s hit making sound) in the production chair, the big time never really beckoned. Jon Butcher has continued to make solo albums up to 2004 (and still with Blevins in tow), but it could be argued that he never bettered the opening pair of releases he created with Axis. Reissued for the first time on CD, Escape Music have again, as seems the case more often in recent times, unearthed a genuinely sought after classic. A mantle Stare At The Sun wears with ease.

Track Listing
1. Wind It Up
2. Victims
3. Dreams Fade Away
4. Stay Low
5. Can’t Tell The Dancer From The Dance
6. Don’t Say Goodnight
7. Walk On The Moon
8. Call To Arms
9.Eros Arriving
10. Breakout

Added: May 18th 2018
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Escape Music
Hits: 652
Language: english

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