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Bernie Shaw and Dale Collins

Too Much Information

Review by Gary Hill

I've put this under progressive rock, but it's not a tight fit. There is a definite melodic rock element to the music here that lands in the territory of AOR prog. The presence of Bernie Shaw sort of clinches it for me, though. You might know him as the lead singer of Uriah Heep, and they are often proggy, so that makes this of interest to prog fans. Whatever you label this, though, it's a strong collection of tracks that have a great melodic rock vibe. There is a decent range, and Shaw's vocals and Collins' musicianship are both impeccable. They even include a cool cover of David Essex' "Rock On" to close the set. Be sure to catch the tribute to Jimi Hendrix, too.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2020  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
So Many Times
A hard rocking guitar sounds starts this. As the second guitar climbs upward more of a melodic rock element emerges. When it drops down for Shaw's vocals, the melodic textures become ever more prominent. This is a song that's not far removed from the kind of stuff Shaw does in Uriah Heep.
Alone
Now this cut starts hard rocking, but it shifts to something a bit more melodic and proggier. As much as I liked the opener, this ramps things upward a notch or two. It just oozes cool, as far as I'm concerned.
Here We Go
In some ways this isn't all that different than the first two cuts. In fact, I'd put it somewhere between them stylistically in a lot of ways. That said, there are a lot more AOR prog elements at play here. The melodic concepts work well, and the whole piece is very cool. It seems that the disc just keeps getting better.
Too Much Information
Now, the guitar bit that starts this has a lot of modern progressive rock built into it. The cut works on that with more of a mainstream AOR sound like we've heard throughout the set. The melodic, and rather soaring, chorus, though, brings both prog elements and hints of Uriah Heep.
Sad Song
This cut has a lot more of that AOR prog vibe in place. It is a melodic piece that fits somewhere between ballad and rocker. It is another that very much calls to mind Uriah Heep. In fact, this one perhaps has that vibe more than the tracks before it did.
Hey Jimi
With a title like that, you might expect a Hendrix-like rocker. Instead, we get a ballad that's very prog oriented. The lyrics are definitely all about Mr. Jimi Hendrix, though. This does get more rocking, but never rises to the point of anything beyond a powered up ballad.
Just a Little Bit
A bit more on the hard rocking side of the equation, this has a good balance between the mellower and more powered up movements. It definitely has some of that prog angle built into it at times, too.
Rock On
The closer is a cover of the old classic David Essex tune. They definitely bring a proggy edge to this thing. It was always a bit proggy, anyway. I like this variant. It seems a bit more direct, but still captures a lot of the magic of the piece. It even gets a little jazzy near the end.
 
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