Unruly Child - 2003 Unruly Child III

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ARTIST: Unruly Child
ALBUM: Unruly Child III
LABEL: Frontiers
SERIAL: FRCD 136
YEAR: 2003

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: image
LINEUP: Bruce Gowdy - guitars, bass, drums * Guy Allison - keyboards, bass, drums * Philip Bardowell - all vocals

01 Tear Me Down * 02 Falling * 03 All Around Me * 04 Bring Me Home * 05 Sleeping Town * 06 You See Three * 07 Kings Of Tragedy * 08 Vertigo * 09 Shades Of Love * 10 Unruly Child * 11 Something

Background

The Unruly Child debut is one of the greatest slices of melodic rock and, in my opinion, no collection should be without it. I was surprised when Bruce Gowdy and Guy Allison resurrected the name several years later, without Mark Free.

Their second release, 'Waiting For The Sun', was a decent enough album. The musicianship was a strong as ever and some of the songs from the 'new' Unruly Child were good enough.

Ex-Hurricane man Kelly Hansen did a decent job in the vocal department, but to me, the idea of an Unruly Child without Mark Free would always be Unruly Child in name only. A few more years have passed and the band are back with us again, in their third incarnation, for 'UCIII'.

The Songs

Providing vocals this time out is Philip Bardowell, who has an excellent voice. At first, he sounds a little uneasy with the harder-edged material, but on softer numbers like 'Bring Me Home', he really hits the spot, demonstrating a Jeff Scott Soto-esque quality.

Despite there being yet another different face in the UC vocalist's spot, musically there are moments here which sound very much like the debut album. This is most obvious in the slightly retro 'Sleeping Town' which could be a distant cousin of 'Long Hair Woman' and the guitar work on 'All Around Me' is unmistakably the work of Bruce Gowdy.

The huge harmony vocals (which are obviously several Bardowell's overdubbed, as Gowdy and Allison aren't credited for any vocal duties) at the beginning of 'Kings Of Tragedy' are a real throwback to the classic days of melodic rock, and although the song's arrangement is a little uneven, the vocals make it one of the album's high points.

It seems that Gowdy and Allison are more than happy to acknowledge the band's early days, as one of their earliest demos, 'Unruly Child' gets a more than welcome re-working here.

In Summary

Overall, this is a good and solid album which is well worth checking out if you're a Bruce Gowdy fan. To be fair, I enjoyed 'UCIII' more than 'Waiting For The Sun'. Maybe it's time I gave in and enjoyed the band for what they're doing now, instead of wondering what may have been, had Mark Free stuck around. The band are still more than capable of writing decent tunes after all.


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