Spence, Brian - 1986 Brothers

geoviangeovian Earth Orbit
edited August 2 in year-1986


ARTIST: Spence, Brian
ALBUM: Brothers
LABEL: Polydor
SERIAL: 829 842-1 (LP), 829 842-2 (CD)
YEAR: 1986
CD REISSUE: 2004, Universal, 80100412


LINEUP: Brian Spence - vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards * Geoff Dugmore - drums * Gerard Johnson - additional keyboards * Ed Stasium - percussion, production

TRACK LISTING: 01 Hear It From The Heart * 02 Will You Never Be My Friend * 03 Brothers * 04 Making Up For Lost Time * 05 Backdoor * 06 When It Hurts * 07 I Will Call You Family * 08 Love Is The Glory * 09 Breaking Every Stone * 10 Wondering How To Cry * 11 Ghandi (We Will Write)


Here's a guy that readers of this site should be more inquisitive about. I've had this album for years, but for whatever reason, it's been hidden among a whole lot of other albums that have duly been ignored.. until now that is.

Brian has a sound that's earmarked for North American radio, a la Rick Springfield and The Outfield, and with that in mind, you'd be thinking he originates from that part of the world. Wrong.

Mr Spence is UK based, Scottish by birth, but now resident in London. His history has been pocketed with numerous outfits, including UK popsters Bilbo Baggins and as one part of the duo Chisolm/Spence, alongside Colin Chisolm.

Brian went solo in 1984 and 'Brothers' released two years later is his first effort, and an excellent one it is too.

The album gets a first rate mix/co-production by American Ed Stasium, a name which has been associated with many top artists over the years including Talking Heads and The Ramones.

'Brothers' as a collection of tunes is a classic rock smorgasbord which has pop overtones, but isn't pop (if that makes any sense!). Even when I'm playing this album well into the 21st century, it still sounds great.. a good sign.

Musically it's radio based AOR, quite warm sounding, with Brian's smooth voice taking on a slightly husky tone at times.. a compelling combination indeed!

I was reminded quite a bit of many other solo artists playing in the AOR/radio style (too many to name here), but they are spacious sounding tracks played in a happy-go-lucky and upbeat style.

The Songs

Opener 'Hear It From The Heart' has the same feel as Lou Gramm's 'Midnight Blue', through the verses and lead-in, though the chorus on this one is much better. This was the single for the album.

'Will You Never Be My Friend' has a punchy arrangement, the chorus slightly regimented but good nonetheless.

Brian reflects on his childhood with the title track 'Brothers' (he does a have a few apparently) while 'Making Up For Lost Time' is a romantic mid-paced attempt at balladry.

'Backdoor' fires up with pent-up energy akin to Rick Matthews 'Only The Young' effort, for which 'When It Hurts' follows on in the same vein.

'Breaking Every Stone' has all the hallmarks of a 70's UK pop tune, but that chorus is killer!'

Wondering How To Cry' meanders in a melodic direction similarly to an outfit like The Believers.

But the best is left till last.. my favourite track the lovely 'Ghandi (We Will Write)' is such an anthemic piece, again with a chorus that sticks with you.

And as it turns out, the best features on this album are indeed the choruses, they are so catchy and singable, you could very well be humming these tunes for days!

In Summary

Brian also released the 'Reputation' album in 1988, another worthwhile acquisition me thinks.

Thanks to Charlie G for giving me the inspiration to complete this long overdue review.

And when you see Brian next, tell him I said hello.

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