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Phenomena II: Dream Runner (Definitive Remaster)

Three years after their warmly received but in many ways unrealised debut album the Phenomena project was back, although this time the brothers Galley returned with a largely different group of musicians. From the debut Glenn Hughes reappeared but this time only handling vocals on three of the tracks, with John Wetton (Asia), Ray Gillen (Black Sabbath/Badlands) and Max Bacon (GTR) splitting the remaining seven, while bass duties were once again handled by Neil Murray. Alongside Mel Galley on guitar John Thomas made a second appearance, although with Murray then a part of underrated Japanese metal outfit Vow Wow, their guitarist Kyoji Yamamoto also joined in. That band’s drummer Toshihiro Nimmi also lent a hand, with the rest of the drum duties taken on by Michael Sturgis. The results were a tighter set of songs given the Galley melodic rock touch and as with the reissue of the debut, the sympathetic remix here actually goes a long way to letting this album breathe in a way the original maybe did not.

“Stop” opens with Gillen manning the mic and with his melodic howl leading from the front this track could easily have come from Europe’s Final Countdown album. Hughes is in control for “Surrender”, although the feel of the music stays true to the keyboard led sound of the opening cut, Leif Johansen a constant and prominent presence here and throughout this album. Something also true for the smoother, slicker “Did It For Love” which is Wetton’s one, only and excellent contribution to proceedings. Here however, and maybe understandably, we move continents, with more of an Asia feel than a Europe one.

“Hearts On Fire” provides one of the album’s biggest sing alongs, Hughes really stretching out over a pulsating riff, before Bacon gives “Jukebox” a more American AOR feel, the pushy guitars from Yamamoto scintillating as they leave a stinging mark. And Bacon’s second contribution, the atmospheric “It Must Be Love” almost has the feel of a Styx like ballad as it drips with emotion and nice little sound effects. Personally however, it’s the much missed Gillen who really shines, “No Retreat, No Surrender”, “Move -You Lose!” and “Emotion Mama” not just perfect for his rich bluesy tones but also illustrating the breadth of ground he could cover.

Again, as with the debut, this reissue comes nicely packaged with exclusive new liner contributions from Tom Galley in what is a well put together, expanded booklet. Thankfully the music is up to the same standard and while maybe not quite as vital as the debut, Dream Runner still proves why for so many Phenomena are a much underrated outfit.


Track Listing
1. STOP!
2. SURRENDER
3. DID IT ALL FOR LOVE
4. HEARTS ON FIRE
5. JUKEBOX
6. DOUBLE 6, 55, DOUBLE 4
7. NO RETREAT, NO SURRENDER
8. MOVE ��" YOU LOSE!
9. EMOTION MAMA
10.IT MUST BE LOVE

Added: December 23rd 2018
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: Dream Runner @ Cherry Red
Hits: 389
Language: english

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