Stranded - New Dawn

geoviangeovian Earth Orbit
edited July 31 in year-2019

Quite why Escape Music bothered with this dated sounding affair beggars belief, if it was released in 1993 or 95 it would have sounded right at home, but for a 2019 release it really is inexcusable.

Stranded - New Dawn
ARTIST: Stranded
ALBUM: New Dawn
LABEL: Escape Music
SERIAL: ESM 332
YEAR: 2019

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Canada Flag
LINEUP: Troy Reid - vocals * Ray Roper - guitars, backing vocals * Lewis Nitikman - keyboards, guitars, bass, drums, production

TRACK LISTING: 01 Not Enough Sorry * 02 I'll Be The One * 03 Get Over This * 04 Arrow * 05 More Than Words Can Say * 06 Take Good Care Of Me * 07 Power Of Love * 08 Cindy * 09 One Piece Of Heaven * 10 Give Me Love * 11 I Believe In This Love

RATING: Score=40%

Background

Stranded are the Canadian band/project with associations to fellow Canucks Agent and Stonebolt. They released their debut for Escape Music back in 1999, and two decades on, their second effort is released. A long time between drinks as they say.

The two constants from that first album are singer Troy Reid, along with Lewis Nitikman (formerly with Diamond In The Rough). Ex Stonebolt guitarist Ray Roper joins the fray second time around. Nitkiman does most of the heavy lifting on this album as you can see from his contribution above.

I was only lukewarm to the quality of 'Long Way To Heaven', as per my review (click Stranded tag below). Despite the passing of time have things improved much? Yes and no. Listening to this it feels like I'm in an early 90's timewarp. And as I'm getting older and leaving those past decades behind this timewarp thing becomes more relevant.

The Songs

The mix and production sounds decent, and the vocals are quite appealing coming across like B.E (Billy) Taylor or Mark Williamson. The arrangements are all locked into that mid 90's CCM market, so probably a decade or two out of date.

'Not Enough Sorry' is a pleasant start, with a load of synths in the background. This could've been a long-lost Mark Williamson track! 'I'll Be The One' is mostly acoustic pop, a flamenco guitar taking control. Didn't like that at all.

'Get Over This' is sound-locked into 1995. I heard a ton of songs and albums that sounded like this back in the day and I certainly didn't need to be reminded of it two decades later. It sounds like a Jonathan Pierce track, a bloke who was doing Nashville flavoured CCM during the 90's.

Poignant piano pervades the ballad 'Arrow', a tune that didn't hit any great heights. Worse still, 'More Than Words Can Say' with its horns and jazz club vibe was a complete miss-hit. 'Take Good Care Of Me' sounds like it was driven by a drum machine and a click track. Great vocal but the arrangement wasn't really engaging.

'Power Of Love' could've been a cast-off ballad from Michael Bolton, but that would be dissing the great one. Too mellow and sleep inducing. 'Cindy' had some promise, but the song was locked into a sequencer tempo and that quacking synth was just damn annoying.

'One Piece Of Heaven' was pitched as a pop rock/gospel tune, and I have to wonder: what is a tune like that doing on an album like this? 'Give Me Love' was another excuse to tap the fast-forward button. The finale 'I Believe In This Love' containing some interesting guitar lines. Finally. A bit of rocking energy, why couldn't the whole album be like this?

In Summary

Quite why Escape Music bothered with this dated sounding affair beggars belief. If it was released in 1993 or 95 it would have sounded right at home. But for a 2019 release it really is inexcusable. Avoid like COVID.


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