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Stan Bush - Dream The Dream

posted 25 Jul 2011, 08:35 by Paul Woodward   [ updated 25 Jul 2011, 10:55 ]
(Frontiers Records)

Dream the Dream is the 11th studio album from AOR legend Stan Bush, and the follow up to his critically acclaimed 2007 album In This Life. The American song writer is probably best known for his contributions to film and TV. He has a cult following for his contributions to the 86 children’s film Transformers, namely “The Touch” & “Dare” and he makes regular appearances at Transformers conventions all over the world. He’s also contributed to films like Jean Claude Van Damme’s “Blood sport” & “Kick boxer”. To those of us who call ourselves AOR anoraks, Stan is more than that though! He is considered one of the most prolific musicians within the genre and is one of the mostly highly regarded songwriters in the biz. Personally there are not many I’d name above him as one the genre’s greatest songwriters.

Stan is joined on this album again by the ultra talented Holger Fath on guitars and keyboards who also produces the album. Matt Bissonette (Bass) and Matt Laug (Drums) provide the rhythm section and the album is mixed and mastered by Michael Blum. Bush has a couple of outside co-write’s on the album including Bobby Barth (Axe/ Blackfoot) & Curt Cuomo (Kiss / Eddie Money).

Dream The Dream is a fantastic album, perhaps not as good as Stan’s previous album “In This Life”. That was always going to be a hard task for me personally as I see “In This Life” as Stan’s greatest collection of songs ever, I know that may make some AOR purists shake their heads as I know many consider his work in the 80’s especially with the Barrage band as his finest work. To be honest I think Stan’s gone from strength to strength over the years, his song writing and his personal style has all matured and improved with every album, I far prefer Bush 2010 style than Bush 86 style. This album isn’t a direct descendent of In This Life, and is perhaps not as deep but not in a major way as his song writing and lyrics hold up just a strongly again here. I think the difference this time is the album is more pointedly aimed at the Melodic Rock fan base and so take’s elements of Bush’s more modern singer songwriter style of his past couple of albums and coupled it with the commercial sound so familiar in the genre’s heyday. A lot of a band’s are doing this nowadays and it’s a good move, it’s not overly retro and has a modern touch without alienating genre fans but also having enough about it to hopefully attract new fans.

The album has everything you need to make a killer melodic rock record, big choruses, hook filled harmonies, catchy melodies and a great upbeat vibe that’ll have you pressing the repeat button! Bush’s distinctive vocals are another strong selling point offering power and emotion whilst carving out some strong vocal melodies. Holger Fath is also very important to the whole album with his excellent keyboard work whether it be subtle or upfront gives this album that touch that to me is essential to music within this genre. Also with this album more so than the last I’ve become a fan of Fath’s guitar work, he creates some really cool memorable riff’s, but a lot of the time it’s the more subtle guitar work which really highlights his talents and brings out some great moments throughout the album. This is an instant album and if it doesn’t grab you by the scruff of the neck on first play, you’ll probably never get it or enjoy it. This isn’t an album you have to work on, spin a few times to “get” or find the hidden strengths, this is an album that’s meant to be enjoyed effortlessly so crack the beers open and clear your throat and ROCK!

The album starts with the brash summery vibe of “Never Hold Back” a sing along tune with a great guitar riff. A great opening track that hit’s the spot instantly. “I’m Still Here” has some wonderful harmonies on the chorus which really bring’s out the best in the song as well as some wonderful guitar work from Holger Fath. A memorable and instant song full of hooks. “Don’t Give Up On Love” has a fantastic smooth chorus coupled with some more great guitar work. Bush’s distinctive vocals are very strong on this one and this is the first song on the album to get unshakeably stuck in my head.

“Two Hearts” has everything it needs to be a classic AOR rocker, hook laden guitars and an awesome chorus. A song that makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, this song makes a real impact. Be warned you’ll be pressing repeat on this one. “In My Life” is a big ballad, very reminiscent of 80’s AOR ballads. Rocker “Love Is the Road” is catchy as hell with a driving instant guitar riff and a pounding rhythm section gives the song some real punch. You’ll find yourself singing along to this feel good summer tune - I really like the lyrics on this one.

“If This Is All There Is” has a big chorus with some excellent harmonies, strong vocals from Bush again and some more of that hook filled guitar work. “Dream the Dream” is a mid-tempo ballad which has a really strong chorus. A Song which grabs your attention immediately. I definitely think this will be a winner with established fans. “More Than A Miracle” isn’t the strongest moment on the album for me purely because it’s not as instant as the other songs. That said it’s still a decent song with a solid chorus with good vocals and musicianship.

“Your Time” has a modern slant and is most similar in style to Bush’s recent output. This modern tinge really works and proves Bush is far from a retro act. With some memorable melodies and a big chorus it’s sure to be a fan favourite. “All That I Am” has some great keyboards and strong guitars from Fath again. Bush’s vocals really shine on this chorus and he delivers some great memorable melodies. “Sam’s Theme (The Touch)” was a song Bush had submitted to be included on the recent Transformers 2 soundtrack and is a remixed version of his song “The Touch” which featured prominently in the original animated Transformers movie (back when I was just a wee boy and girl’s were yucky….well except for the ginger ones…. ). The song is barely recognisable and is far removed from the original not just darker and heavier but modern and metallic too. This version is bound to divide opinion.

This is Melodic Rock/AOR fan boy’s wet dream of an album, delivering instant gratification with big sing along choruses. Bush’s distinctive emotion fuelled vocals coupled with excellent musicianship drive this album to the top of the pile, and it stand’s out in the crowd of recent releases in the genre. Excellent song writing and lyrics mixed with some of the greatest songs Bush has ever crafted, will not just have established Bush fan’s (ooo err missus!) salivating but will surely draw new fans to his unique brand of modern AOR. Amongst the PR for this release is a statement that Stan plan’s to tour this album in Europe, here’s hoping for some UK dates (got my fingers crossed for a midlands date!)…..hell I’d travel to see Stan…you’ll not hear me say that very often….THAT’S how good this guy is!

Track Listing: Never Hold Back / I’m Still Here / Don’t Give Up on Love / Two Hearts / In My Life / Love Is The Road / If This Is All There Is / Dream The Dream / More Than A Miracle / Your Time / All That I Am / Sam’s Theme (The Touch)

Album Rating: 5/5

Woody's Essential Track: Love Is The Road

Dream The Dream is OUT NOW and available from all good retailers and