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101 South: No U-Turn

Formed back in 1999 by Harlan Cage keyboard player Robert Scott Craig, 101 South released their self titled debut album a year later. Joining Craig on that album was vocalist Greg Lynn Hall who with his Lou Gramm meets David Glenn Eisley and John Payne style helped raise that album to cult classic status in the AOR field. Two years later Craig and Hall were back with album number two Roll Of The Dice, this time joining them was guitarist Billy Liesgang who had also been a member of Harlan Cage. It was another album full of impressive soft rockers and AOR anthems which also received a warm welcome.

After seven years away No U-Turn heralds 101 South's comeback and sees Hall, Craig and Liesgang teaming up once again, also joining them for this comeback is long time contributor Hans Geiger on drums. Add to that guest appearances from guitarists Michael Turner, Ian Bairnson (Alan Parsons Project) and David Pasillas along with Jimmy Turner on bass and Manfred Mann vocalist Chris Thompson who sings on "Blue Skies" and it is a most impressive cast list.

Staying true to its title No U-Turn refuses to veer off in to unchartered territory as this is an album full of smooth, slick AOR with knock out choruses and razor sharp hooks. Taking the classic early sound of Foreigner, in fact much of what is in evidence has a similar laid back vibe to one time Foreigner man Ian McDonald's stunning solo album Drivers Eyes, and sprinkling in hints of Giuffria, and Asia in their less pompous moments, it's a mature and assured collection of songs that reels you in with their charms and lives long in the memory.

There's much to be impressed with on the album with "When You're In Love" gently introducing the songs with its velvety sedate pace setting the tone for what is a beautifully laid back journey. "What Are You Going To Do Anyway" ups the tempo somewhat and possesses one of the catchiest choruses I've heard in a long time, Hall's vocals cross over from seductively smooth to coarse and gravely and the warmth of his voice is a joy to hear.

"End Of The Game" is a fantastic jaunty number that runs along on a tremendous keyboard motif that is strongly reminiscent of "You Are A Part Of Me" from the afore mentioned Drivers Eyes album by Ian McDonald. It manages to be both uplifting and melancholy at the same time and had me reaching for the repeat button over and over thanks to the stunning restrained guitar slides and insistent beat. "Yesterdays Gone" pushes the Asia feel with its soaring vocal and intricate little guitar punctuations and is very classy indeed.

"Don't Tell Me It's Over" adds a little Journey flavour to the mix before it's closing track "Blue Skies" that ensures the album ends on a high. It's one of the mellowest songs on No U-Turn, however this is AOR at its best and Hall's heartfelt vocal tugs at the heart strings before the guitar solo finishes you off completely.

It does take a few plays to fully reveal its glories, however this is an album full of highlights that will keep you coming back time and time again.

Track list
1. When You're In Love
2. All In The Game
3. Lonely Heart
4. What Are You Gonna Do Anyway
5. End Of The Game
6. From What You Know Now
7. Yesterday Is Gone
8. Take Me Home
9. Don't Tell Me It's Over
10. Blue Skies

Added: November 3rd 2009
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Bands MySpace Page
Hits: 3303
Language: english

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