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Action - 2008 Action

ARTIST: Action
ALBUM: Action
LABEL: Frontiers
YEAR: 2008


LINEUP: Jack Marques - vocals * David Chip Ramos - guitars * Ruben Demello - keyboards * Chris Sutherland - bass * Chris Longo - drums * Mark Duane - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Without Your Love * 02 Someday * 03 Here In My Heart * 04 Destiny * 05 Forever * 06 Loveless * 07 Don't Leave Me Lonely * 08 Heaven Tonight * 09 Cinderella * 10 Feel The Fire * 11 Is It Love



Here's a band that is twenty years too late it would seem, but sometimes there springs forth life from the ruins. Just ask Asia about the concept of the Phoenix? lol! From the 1987/1988 timeframe, Action arrive in 2007 courtesy of Frontiers Records, but there's a lot more to this than meets the eye. Main man David Ramos would commence a songwriting partnership that started in the hair metal era, and took him right through into modern rock territory with the band Mars Hill. When that band dissolved in 2006, Ramos resurrected Action - bought in a few of the previous members, including former collaborator and songwriter Jack Marques. Through his management team, a deal was shopped and a deal with Frontiers was forthcoming. Though some these songs are from the previous era, there are some new songs as well, just to ensure there is a touch of the 'current day' on what is essentially an 80's sounding melodic hard rock album.

The Songs
This is the sort of album that should've been released on Retrospect Records - not that I am complaining. If you like listening to past glory days faves like Firehouse, Biloxi, Mitch Malloy and Nelson, then Action will fit the bill nicely. There are a heap of vocal harmonies which is the essence of any good AOR/melodic rock band. No problem on that front. The guitar/keyboard interplay is on course too. So with that out of the road, let's have a pick at a few of these songs.

Opener 'Without Your Love' starts out as an acoustic intro. Should I be worried? No, Action move into AOR territory before long, and they sound pretty good too, similar to 'Let The Games Begin' era Biloxi but without the full sound.

The leading guitar intro on 'Someday' sounds incredibly thin, and though the band flesh out their sound with multiple vocal parts and use of keyboards, you can't quite escape the feeling that this would've sounded awesome with a bigger production.

I was reminded of Mitch Malloy on 'Here In My Heart', and that in itself is a great association as I am a huge MM fan. Good one chaps!

'Destiny' is a hybrid of many influences, too hard to pick the eyes out of this one. It's an ok track

'Forever' is the band's attempt at the big ballad, the cascading keyboard work creates the space which is adequately filled by vocal harmonies.

Action move into Firehouse and Tora Tora territory with 'Loveless', a guitar-based rocker with hair-metal influences.

'Don't Leave Me Lonely' touches on semi-ballad sentiments with a dose of guitar metallics. It's a reminder of what bands like this were doing back in the 80's, mixing tender and tough in the space of four minute songs.

Bringing the keyboards to the front works well on 'Heaven Tonight'. A racier number, the song benefits from a more prominent use of ivories.

Another racy tune is 'Cinderella'. I am reminded of Jersey rockers Intruder on this one. Again the integration of keys and guitars shine through with maximum effect.

By now, Action have well and truly got their act together, with 'Feel The Fire' perhaps the best testimonial of the band thus far. All the elements hit melody-central with seagull-to-head like precision.

No wimp-outs at the end of the album. 'Is It Love' finishing up on a high.. it's melodic rock all the way down to the wire.

In Summary
As mentioned, the production is a bit thin for my liking, and though this relatively new, the song-titles are stuck right in the middle of 1988 - no points for originality unfortunately. Forget all that though - Action have a great recipe. Yes, it's been borrowed and hacked about as most melodic rock recipe books are, but it sounds great, and there is room for further experimentation into the fure ,and that to me, is the pleasing aspect, as they already have one great CD in the bank! Already released in Europe during December 2007, 'Action' has recently received a local release in the US and Japan markets during March 2008. A worthy contender for GLORY-DAZE, and great for David to put these tracks out into the public domain. Now he needs to move beyond this set, and sink his teeth into writing new material. Action II is something I will be looking forward to in due course. And that goes without saying - a beefier production next time around would benefit this band greatly.

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