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  BOULEVARD
Boulevard: 'What's Up'
(Yesterrock)


Phil Kane

phil kane



Boulevard Whats Up


Here we are then, another obscure AOR album from 1987 that has been exhumed for your delectation by those bloodhounds at Yesterrock. Hailing from Gothenburg, Sweden, Boulevard was considered an extremely promising outfit on the melodic hard rock scene. At the time of the original release of this debut album however, the record label had no apparent interest in pushing the band and despite the release of a string of singles the album never took off.

'What's Up' was Boulevard's only album before the band split up and the shame of it is it has a lot going for it. It has the exuberant zip of youth and the snotty nosed groove that the old LA bands used to have by the ton. There are the big riffs with soloing to match, the fluffy keyboards being kept under tight control so the album is allowed a bit of swagger.

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Songs like 'Still On My Way' (especially the demo version included here), 'Solid As A Rock', 'Fallen Angel' and 'Surrender' have plenty of grunt with edges softened by an unobtrusive keyboard. The poppy groove of 'Running' and 'I'm What You Need' could actually bring the party to you.

Strange as it may seem, whilst there is a lack of a killer track, there are no absolute duds either and it is all the sort of stuff that is manna from heaven for any melodic rock buff, especially those with a soft spot for the more obscure eighties melodic sleaze.

The production could be better but at least the album does not sound as dated as some that have been released recently. Compared to a lot of stuff that did get a bit more recognition back in the day, this album should have seen Boulevard create waves beyond the meagre recognition they eventually achieved.

What lets 'What's Up' down however, is the lead vocal. Being a bit flat and yappy, as on 'Running' for instance, there is definitely room for improvement and the album tries really hard to take up the slack but ultimately it all lacks heart.

In some ways it reminds you of the likes of Rock City Angels: they also released just the one album that is now claimed to be a lost gem and were hailed as the next big thing but when you got down to the nitty gritty they and it were just not good enough.

Boulevard's problems are perfectly summed up by the vocal short comings here; adequate but when things step up a gear the strain sets in, power is lost and no amount of expansive choruses and grunt hides the fact.

I suspect Boulevard fancied themselves as able challengers to take the melodic Metal crown of fellow compatriots Europe but unfortunately 'What's Up' was their underwhelming weapon of choice. It has the required snarl but lacks the songs and ability to be nothing more than another obscure oddity that is good but just not good enough.

In the past, the Europe boys have been known to woo Bloodfest crowds simply because they are world class entertainers that know how to deliver the goods. So when compared to such formidable firepower, Boulevard and 'What's Up' just wouldn't have stood a chance then, and still wouldn't now.

9.4.12




NOW AEROSMITH FANS CAN HAVE THEIR NAME IN FUTURE COLLECTOR'S ITEM

aerosmith

Here's a fabulous Aerosmith pictorial document as seen through the lens of famed British photographer Tony Mottram. Tony photographed the band over many years for various magazines and now has a monthly column here on MetalTalk.

As was often the case, only one photo ever got published and in the fast moving world of weekly magazines sometimes entire sessions would be done and left undeveloped.

Tony started shooting Aerosmith from towards the end of the period with Jimmy Crespo and Rick Dufay and onwards through the return of original members Joe Perry and Brad Whitford that resulted in the albums 'Done With Mirrors', 'Permanent Vacation' and 'Pump'.

aerosmith

As well as shooting the band several times in England, this collection includes images from a session at the band's rehearsal room in Boston. Littered throughout is a mixture of live and off stage photos including a selection of photos taken at London's famous Marquee club when they were joined on stage by Jimmy Page.

This limited edition hardback book, presented in a flight case and printed on silk paper, is an opportunity to own a unique selection of photos, most of which have never seen the light of day before.

This unique item is presented in an aluminium flight case and will be published in late November. Earlybird subscribers who order by 31st October will have their name printed within a dedicated page in the book.

To be sure not to miss out on this unique, future collector's item, hit the PayPal button here:



Publication date: 31st November 2017
ISBN: 978-1-908724-81-6
Format: Casebound.
Pages: 128 pages, printed on 170 gsm, silk paper.
Size: A4 landscape.







 


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