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Surgin - 1985 When Midnight Comes

ARTIST: Surgin
ALBUM: When Midnight Comes
LABEL: Music For Nations, EMI America
SERIAL: MFN-58, ST 17167
YEAR: 1985
CD REISSUE: 2001, Zoom Club (UK), ZCRCD69 * 2014, Krescendo (UK), KRECD71


LINEUP: Jack Ponti - guitars, vocals * Russell Arcara - vocals * John Capra - keyboards, vocals * Gary Shapiro - keyboards * Michael King - bass, vocals * Tommy Swift - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 When Midnight Comes * 02 Shot Through The Heart * 03 Not Done Lovin' You * 04 In The Heat Of It All * 05 Wait Until Morning * 06 Hands Of Time * 07 Turn The Radio On * 08 Heartbeat Away * 09 Hot Nights * 10 Desiree

Surgin were a band that was formed out of the 1980's hotbed that was the New Jersey melodic rock scene. In retrospect, they were hardly an original outfit, but were melodic to the core. You'd have to be really with two keyboardists! For musical reference points take a couple of swigs of Adrenalin, a dram of Airkraft, and mix it all together with healthy doses of liquid Bon Jovi, and this is what you'll get. The Bon Jovi reference is quite apt, as Surgin band members Jack Ponti and Russell Arcara used to be in a working band with Mr Bongiovi himself, called The Rest. Well as they say, 'the rest' is history. As an international release, this album appeared on the UK label Music For Nations. Not a bad choice, as their roster at the time was awesome.

The Songs
The strength and anchor point of the band is undoubtedly Ponti, who is a bit of a songwriting genius. Many artists have called on his expertise in this area, but on Surgin, you get a first hand look at his songs, and they way he wanted them to turn out. A good example being 'Shot Through The Heart' which first appeared on the debut Bon Jovi album the year before. Despite the fact that the music might sound formularised, there are some bonafide moments onboard. 'In The Heat Of It All' has the same broody feel as Bon Jovi's 'Breakout'. The mid tempo ballad 'Not Done Lovin' You' is a great example of their potential as is 'Heartbeat Away'. Elsewhere, the hard driving 'Hot Nights' and the AOR by numbers approach of 'Desiree' round out what is solid dependable effort.

In Summary
Ponti has since worked with Baton Rouge, and our good friend Joey Sinopoli in Angry Tears. Arcara has worked both as a solo artist and as a member of the superb band Prophet. More than fifteen years after it's initial release does the album secure an official CD release on Zoom Club, after years in the wilderness as a bootleg double-teamed with that classic Fortune album. Get the real McCoy.

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#1 | Eric on April 27 2007 20:01:14
Way, way too much Bon Jovi here (no, never a big fan of Jon Bon) almost to the point were the dreaded 'clone band' tag applies.
#2 | Vincenzo on November 26 2007 14:25:24
Excellent review.
I bought this album in CD format by ZOOM Club records. Unfortunately the ZOOM Club version is a vinyl transfer worse than cd of RPM by MTM and worse of all vinyl transfers that i heard.
#3 | super80boy on January 15 2017 16:38:01
It's hard not to think about Bon Jovi's 'Runaway' single when hearing that stabbing keyboard melody throughout 'Shot Through The Heart'. Russell Arcara's vocals do struggle at times throughout the set, but the quality musicianship and production makes up for it. Surgin's album is the consummate example of that early 80's melodic rock formula, catchy melodies, ample keyboards and giant hooks...and of course the ballads.

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