When I saw this album was available for review, I jumped at the chance. Gary Pihl was familiar to me because he played guitar on some of my favorite 1980s Sammy Hagar songs. Matt Starr is just quite simply “THE MAN!!!!” Never mind that he has played with one of my all-time rock heroes (and favorite KISS member), Ace Frehley, but what he is currently doing with Mr. Big just shows that he has a heart of gold. Matt….THANK YOU for joining Mr. Big and allowing Pat Torpey to take part in recording/touring. It’s nice to know that there are still good human beings in music that put their egos aside and just do what’s right. Okay, wiping the tears from my eyes….let’s get into the album review.
The World’s Best Hope by All 4 1 (Debut album, Frontier Records)
Produced by: Alessandro Del Vecchio
Frontiers’ President Serafino Perugino does it ALL the time. Put 4 talented/experienced musicians in 1 room, sit back…and let magic happen (see what I did there…. ALL 4 1… LOL). Terry Brock on lead vocals (Giant, Strangeways), Robert Berry (Three, Alliance) on bass and lead vocals, Gary Pihl (Sammy Hagar, Alliance, Boston) on guitar, and Matt Starr (Ace Frehley, Mr Big) on drums have created an AOR masterpiece.
The opening track “After the Rain” is a very Journey-esque song. It has a hummable melody, a catchy chorus, dual lead vocals and great backing vocals. Wow… Terry and Robert can sing! I have always loved vocalists that sound great in their higher registers.
“Cyanide” and “Never Back Down Again” are edgier songs with the latter having an anthem type quality that will go over well in a live setlist. The melodic guitar solos fit perfectly. Gary really has a knack for blending hard rock guitars into radio friendly music.
If you love that 80s feel, “Down Life’s Pages“, “Show Me The Way” and “Walk Alone” are sing-along type songs with memorable choruses and superb song arrangement.
So, there you have it. Mature lyrics, polished songwriting, sonically pleasing production and 2 outstanding vocalists working together cohesively. Add to that perfectly crafted guitar parts and appropriately timed drum fills and you have songs that will keep your head bopping. The band is also very active with their fans on their Facebook page. Gary has also taken the time to make some videos that teach young guitarists how to play his guitar parts.
Four experienced musicians with obvious chemistry that deliver 11 great AOR, radio-friendly songs. My favorites are “After the Rain“, “Don’t Surrender (To Love)” and “Never Back Down Again“. It would be a shame if this band doesn’t tour. I think they would do well with some of the major arena acts like Journey, Styx, Def Leppard, etc.
I highly recommend this album. AOR gold!!!! Pooni out!