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New England: Walking Wild

New England's third and final album, Walking Wild, was produced by none other than Todd Rundgren and released in 1981 on Elektra. While not as grandiose and symphonic as their first two releases, Walking Wild was still a strong album, perhaps more of a straight rock record, along the lines of what Utopia were doing at the time. It's very obvious that Rundgren's presence had a strong influence on the band after listening to the ten songs included here, as story has it the band had just completed a long batch of touring opening up for the likes of AC/DC, Journey, and Cheap Trick, and they were looking forward to some time off. That was not to be as their management contacted the band and stated that they had snagged Rundgren to be their next producer, but he only had a few week open window to work with the band and that window was immediately! So the band regrouped with Rundgren and produced what would be their last album, a hard rocking collection of songs that for the most part kept the bands signature hooks intact.

The opening title track is an indication of the more aggressive sound that Rundgren brought to the band, and the band even added in some "new wave/electronic" elements to the song. "Holding Out on Me" is pure power-pop, with layered vocals, hooks, and meaty guitars, while "Don't Ever Let Me Go" is much like the material on the bands first two albums, complete with rich keyboard tones from Jimmy Waldo and John Fannon's rich Beatles-influenced vocals. Listen carefully for a neat guitar solo from producer Rundgren on this one as well. After the lush ballad "Love's Up In the Air", the band rips into the engaging power pop ditty "DDT", this one a throwback to their earlier material as well as hints of The Beatles, Queen, ELO, Sweet, and Aviary. The Beatles and ELO again provide a huge influence on "Get It Up" and "L-5" , two sweeping and orchestral rockers, the latter seeing Waldo's sythns and Mellotron rise to the occasion in grand fashion. The gritty guitar rock of "She's Gonna Tear You Apart" has a similar vocal delivery to that of Utopia, but otherwise is a juicy heavy rocker with some prog rock tendencies. The album closes with the lighthearted pop rocker "Elevator" and the keyboard drenched "You're There".

It's a shame that the New England disbanded after the tour to support Walking Wild, as the band were certainly delivering strong material and still showing that the creative juices were flowing. Here in 2006 the band has recently just completed a reunion concert which was many years in the making, so perhaps there might be new New England music in the future-keep your fingers crossed.

Track Listing
1. Walking Wild
2. Holdin' Out On Me
3. Don't Ever Let Me Go
4. Love's Up In The Air
5. DDT
6. Get It Up
7. L-5
8. She's Gonna Tear You Apart
9. Elevator
10. You're There

Added: May 10th 2006
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: New England Website
Hits: 3993
Language: english

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