Le Mans - 1986 Le Mans

geoviangeovian Earth Orbit
edited August 2 in year-1986


ALBUM: Le Mans
LABEL: Columbia
YEAR: 1986
CD REISSUE: 2001, Rewind/Songhaus, 55016-2 * 2010, Yesterrock, 88697774232


LINEUP: Peter Marrino - vocals * Derek Frigo - guitars * Johnny Johnson - guitars, keyboards * Brett Bloomfield - bass * Kenny Stavropoulos - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Love Lies * 02 Don't Wanna Work * 03 Love Is A Waste Of Time * 04 Never Wanna See You Cry * 05 Addicted * 06 Chain Around Your Heart * 07 Bad Reputation * 08 Life Of Rock 'n' Roll * 09 Misunderstanding * 10 Sex, Guitars, Rock 'n' Roll


Le Mans first came to everyone's attention courtesy of Mike Varney's Shrapnel label.

My first run in with the band was hearing them on the compliation album US Metal II in 1982, where guitarists Derek Frigo and Josh Ramos literally destroyed everything and sundry on that hell blazing metal track 'Waiting', with guitar solos a plenty.

Very heavy, and very fast, which is a far cry musically from where both chaps are now, or as it was with this album.

Le Mans did release one album on the Shrapnel label in 1983, 'Out On The Streets', which was very heavy metal.

It wasn't a bad effort, but somewhere in between the boys have done serious listening time to Journey and Def Leppard and lightened up big time with this effort three years later.

The lineup had changed slightly, only Marrino, Frigo and Stavropoulos remained, being joined by Johnny Johnson and Brett Bloomfield.

A new and bigger label came onboard, and the musical approach changed from rampant heavy metal to a slick brand of melodic rock, despite the fact that the album was produced by Mike Varney.

The Songs

Their sound has definitely become more commercial, and is not dissimilar to the UK duo Rio, who released a few albums around about the same time on the MFN label.

Catchy, lots of chanty choruses, and the ever present sonic six gun guitar of Frigo.

Somehow though, the direction change is not a comfortable one, and I'm sure these boys would much prefer the chains and studs rather than the scarves and neckerchiefs on display here.

However, for what it's worth, there are some good songs on display here.

Opener 'Love Lies', 'Never Wanna See You Cry', and the excellent 'Chain Around Your Heart' stand out. 'Sex Guitars And Rock N Roll' is pretty good too, showing Le Mans in a live context.

In Summary

As much as I loved Le Mans in their heavy metal days, and as much as I love the melodic rock genre overall, I suspect that these two were never destined to meet, because quite simply, the album did very little for me.

A band quite literally caught between two worlds. However, for those still interested in hearing this album, it got a CD release on Songhausmusic during 2001.

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