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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Bruce Turgon

Outside Looking In

Review by Gary Hill

Well, let's just get it right out at the start - comparisons to Foreigner will abound on this one. Bruce Turgon's biggest claim to fame is probably his work in that band, in addition to playing with Foreigner vocalist Lou Gramm in Shadow King and his solo career. Well, as one might expect, a lot of this disc feels quite a bit like Foreigner. That's not the only thing on show here, though. There are cuts that really don't feel like that band. It's interesting that Turgon's vocals (without listening to closely) sound a lot like Gramm's. Turgon has assembled a pretty impressive group of musicians for this (his debut) solo release. They include Rocket Rtchotte (David Lee Roth, Cher), Ronnie Montrose and Gramm himself (who co-wrote and adds backing vocals to two tracks). While this disc is definitely a good and entertaining one, it could have been better. Frankly, Turgon just doesn't take enough chances. Instead he plays it pretty safely creating fairly generic hard melodic rock. It's a great start, but let's hope next time around that he stretches out a bit more.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2006 Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Living a Lie
With a keyboard dominated (but still showing off a good deal of crunchy guitar) arrangement, Turgon kicks this one off with a very classic sounding Foreigner type rocker. This is very much trademark late '70's arena rock. This gets quite powerful later and has some very tasty guitar work.

Any Other Time
This one rocks out a bit more than the last track with a bit of a hair metal fire behind it on the intro. As it drops into the verse, though, its balladic style should be quite familiar to fans of Foreigner. I like the keyboards and the guitar sound on this arrangement quite a bit. There is also some extremely tasty guitar soloing.
Outside Looking In
The title track is not very Foreigner like at all. In fact, what we get here is a very crunchy, metallic jam that is one of the highlights of the disc. There are some great guitar sounds here and a lot of other nice touches. I really like this one a lot.

Walk Thru Fire
This one does have a song structure that calls to mind Turgon's old band, but it also has a killer meaty arrangement. This one therefore feels a bit like Foreigner on steroids. It's another highlight of the disc and contains some of the meatiest guitar work of the whole album.

Faith
Based in a keyboard dominated ballad structure, this one is a very Foreigner like composition. While there aren't any real surprises in the song structure, it is a very tasty and powerful piece that works quite well. The chorus on here is especially potent. So is the whole arrangement on the latter parts of the cut.
Pleasure Dome
Starting with ambient keyboards (reminding me a bit of Aldo Nova) this one works through in this mode for a short time before a crunchy guitar powers in to start off the song proper. This one is a heavier rocker. It's another that doesn't feel like Foreigner. While still rather generic, this hard rocker is definitely one of the standout cuts. This one might be my favorite on the CD. It really has some pretty awesome moments.
These Tears Must Fall
Co-written by Lou Gramm, he also provides backing vocals on this one. Starting with weird keyboard sounds, this one kicks in as a hard edged anthemic ballad. Interestingly enough this one doesn't feel as much like Foreigner as some of the other material does. Don't get me wrong, the main song structure and some of the textures do call to mind that outfit, but this one has a different flavor from that group. It's a solid piece and one of the coolest on the disc.
Weapons of Love
This hard rocking, fast paced number is another of the sheer winners on show here. It's one of the most high-energy pieces on show here and really rocks! It's another that's in my short list of best tunes here.


On a Wing and a Prayer
This one comes in with an '80's keyboard texture and falls firmly into a fairly generic anthemic ballad mode. Even with this rather tried and true approach, this one stands out based on the powerful and evocative performance and some scorching guitar work. It's a good example of how something fairly trite can be turned into a really strong piece.

Heart So Strong
This is the other song that's a collaboration between Gramm and Turgon. This one has a keyboard based ballad approach and is very much in that Foreigner school of sound. It is another that works pretty well, though.
The Last Time
 Jumping in with a killer guitar sound, this rocker is another of the stronger cuts here. Once again, it's not Earth shattering in terms of musical creativity, but it's a very effective hard-edged rocker. It has some very tasty guitar work.
Where Do We Go from Here
A generic Foreigner type ballad structure makes up this one. It's not bad, but frankly I don't see it as a good choice for disc closer. It's pretty and evocative, but just doesn't leave you inspired to hit "play" all over again.

 
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