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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Duncan Faure

Anthology

Review by Gary Hill

This double disc set features music from Duncan Faure. Faure is best known for his work as the guitarist in the Bay City Rollers. The music here retains that sort of pop rock stylings of that group. A lot of it is Beatles-influenced. Almost all of it is great.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Disc 1
Nightfall (2010)

Starting with piano, this is a tasty pop rock tune. It’s very much rooted in a 1970s rock sound. There are some cool bits of rock guitar interspersed here and there.

Racing Car (1981)
The guitar sounds that start this out are decidedly hard edged. In a lot of ways this frantic and rather crazed rocker makes me think of Max Webster. And, that’s a good thing. This instrumental is a real screamer.
Lovely Is the Woman (1980)
A piano based ballad, this is pretty, but feels a little rough in terms of the production.
Come Back (Karu)
This energetic cut is decidedly Beatles-like, but perhaps the closer reference would be Klaatu because it really sounds like that band. Of course, they were heavily Beatles-influenced, so that makes sense. The guitar solo, though, sounds closer to Queen.
World Stood Still (Karu)
The same musical cast of references are here, but this one has an almost dream-like character in a more rocking arrangement. It’s almost prog-like in some ways. The lyrics are even full of Beatles references.
In the Right Place (Karu)
The keyboard sound on this is dated and a little cheesy, but otherwise this is another cool slab of pop rock with Beatles-leanings.
Finally In Love (1985)
The production on this leaves a little to be desired. However, it’s a pretty ballad that’s got a lot of magic built into it. That musical element allows this to shine despite any production failings.
I'll Always Be There
Based on a guitar ballad approach, there are strings and keyboards built into this. It’s not ground breaking, but it is tasty.
In a Hundred Years
This is powerful. It’s got a symphonic arrangement that really makes it almost progressive rock. It’s a killer powered up ballad. The Beatles references are obvious. This is one of the highlights of the set. The vocal arrangement calls to mind ELO at times and the music isn’t far removed from that territory either.
Dad's Town
He brings it in with symphonic elements but the guitar sound is decidedly harder edged. This is a cool tune that works quite well. The usual musical elements in terms of influences are there, but this rocks out a lot more. There’s a cool bit of big band music set in later for flavor. The arrangement gets very powerful later.
Tear In Her Eye
Piano starts this and holds it in a classical way for a time. Then acoustic guitar enters and the song becomes a rock ballad. As it builds up The Beatles are definitely in the house. It’s a cool tune that works quite well.
Around The Corner
Here’s another highlight. This is a powerful cut with a string arrangement. If anything here qualifies as progressive rock, it’s this.
Tonight I Pray for a Miracle
This cut is very much like Klaatu and The Beatles. There is a killer vocal arrangement and some great strings built into the mix. It’s another that’s proggy.
Oh You Make Me Blue
“Oh You Make Me Blue” almost feels like part two of the previous tune. That’s not to say the musical progression is the same. The treatment is very close. That said, at times this feels closer to something from ELO.
Where Is The Music

More of a straight-ahead rocker, this is tasty, but not up to the same standards as a lot of the rest of the music here.

Lovelight
This mellow pop rock tune feels a bit like something from the John Lennon school of Beatles songwriting.
Come Dance With Me
A rocking tune, this one seems closer to the types of music performed by Faure’s more famous musical act.
Seen the Way You Look at Me
There’s a lot of piano in the arrangement to this pop rocker. It’s another with a lot of Beatles in the mix. There are Queen-like guitar bits here.
Disc 2
Brother
There are still Beatles elements here, but more than anything else this is a rocking tune that’s based in classic pop rock sounds.
This Is Love This Is Real
Certainly John Lennon is a key reference here. This feels more like something from John Lennon solo than it does like The Beatles. Of course, it’s not a clone, but more of an homage. The guitar solo is especially tasty. There’s also a cool little classic rock jam that follows.
Wouldn't It Be Good
Here Faure covers the Nik Kershaw hit. I like Faure’s version better than the original because it’s more rocker and less ‘80s pop.
Better Than Ever
Faure gives us another catchy rocker. This is accessible and tasty and fairly clear of the Beatles links. Sure, there are still a few, but not like a lot of the earlier music.
Man of a Thousand Dreams
This cut is pretty involved and creative. There are many progressive rock elements present, but it’s overall a real pop rock oriented number. It’s a great tune.
Get Inside Your Heart
While there are no big changes, this is a cool pop rock tune.
You Know Me So Well (Alternate Mix)
This cut is well rooted in 1970s pop rock. It’s a bit hard edged, but also has some pop elements and symphonic sounds in the arrangement.
Not Enough Hours (Alternate Mix)
John Lennon-styled writing drives this. The arrangement is tasty with strings and some killer bass work.
Timilu
Here’s a short instrumental that’s very tasty.
Galaxy
This rises up from the previous number. It’s suitably space-like and has a definite Klaatu-like texture. This is one of the most progressive-like numbers on show. Still, it’s another fairly short instrumental.
Forever
There’s sort of a café based sound here, mixed with some of the elements of the previous couple tunes. This is a pretty ballad.
Kings Anthem
Here’s another killer instrumental. This is quite progressive rock-like. It’s also short.
Christmas Song
The bells and chorale vocals make it clear from the start what the title revealed, it’s a Christmas song. It’s mellow and nice.
This Is the Christmas
“Santa” starts this off. Then we get some chorale vocals before it powers out to some hard rocking sounds. It’s a great alternative to traditional Christmas music. I love the multiple layered vocals and Mr. Kringle returns to end this.
Brother Live WOLJ Radio
Here’s a live cut on the radio, with a little interview bit at the beginning.
Eyes of the Innocent (Demo)
We get a rocking tune based on acoustic guitar.
I Won't Give Up (Orange Cashboat)
This feels very demo-like. It’s a catchy little pop tune, but not up to the quality of the rest of the stuff here.
Girl On Her Own (Orange Cashboat)
The texture here is a little better. The cut’s not really all that professional in terms of delivery, though. Again, this fades in comparison to a lot of the other stuff here.
Feels Like a Day (2010)
A piano based ballad, this gets more powerful as it continues.
 
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