RAF - 1986 Restless Spirit

geoviangeovian Earth Orbit
edited August 2 in year-1986

image

ARTIST: RAF
ALBUM: Restless Spirit
LABEL: Aura
SERIAL: AUL 733
YEAR: 1986

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: image

LINEUP: David Valentine - vocals, keys, guitars * Tony Beard - drums * Rab Howat - lead guitar * Bob Heatlie - sax * Dave Sinclair - bass

TRACK LISTING: 01 Dreamboy * 02 Only The Heart Can Tell * 03 Steal Your Love * 04 Restless Spirit * 05 Faces In The Windshield * 06 Woman Like You * 07 Stranger In The Mirror * 08 We Can Only Dream * 09 It's Only Love * 10 Reprise Restless Spirit

Background

Over the years, bonny Scotland has produced a handful of exceptional melodic rock acts. Of course Strangeways take the award for all comers, but you can also factor in the likes of The Promise, Zero Zero and this bunch called RAF.

In this case, the band name means 'rich and famous' rather than some illustrious aeronautical organisation.

They did in their career, release a handful of albums. Most trainspotters will recall their first two albums: 1980's 'RAF' and 1981's 'The Heat's On'. Lesser known is their 1986 album 'Restless Spirit', of which only main-man David Valentine remained.

Muscially, RAF have moved in a different direction, whereas the first two albums displayed a quirky form of pomp/AOR a la Russia, The Tubes etc.

'Restless Spirit' is a smooth keyboard laden affair, reminding me of Aussie band Avion and their 'White Noise' album from the same year, plus a little bit of Cutting Crew for good measure.

The Songs

The sound is full and rampant on the lead off 'Dream Boy', echoing vocals and the first signs of saxophone on the solo.

'Only The Heart Can Tell' is an urgent pop rocker with loads of synth in the backwash.

The sax again takes a prominent role on 'Steal Your Love', the melodious flow has an Icehouse feel to it, espceially those spacious sounding drums and Iva Davies like vocals.

The title track 'Restless Spirit' is huge sounding, it punches along in a fast paced manner, giving the impression that this will steal a few stares in the live environment.

'Faces In The Windshield' is the first ballad, and is a bit wishy-washy to be honest.

'Woman Like You' has a musical motif that stays in place all the way through the song, 'Stranger In The Mirror' is a return to that faster paced style heard on the first couple of songs.

For trainspotters, the song 'We Can Only Dream' was used as the theme song for the 1986 Commonwealth Games held in Edinburgh, and you can hear the Children's Choir in full voice on the choruses of this very melodic song - probably the best on the album.

'It's Only Love' is full of hi-tech surprises, actually it has more in common with those Canadian synth bands from the early 80's, Strange Advance, FM etc, while those big electronic sounding drums are certainly a throwback to another time.

In Summary

An interesting band, one who I'm sure we'll backfill with reviews of their earlier two albums.

As an aside, David Valentine has put together a selection of songs on CD called 'Back On My Feet Again'.

These appear to be a selection of self-released tunes which you can listen to (and or download/pay) from the Heartbeat Studio website link (as above).

Great to see the Scottish outfit reviewed here at long last.


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