Thursday, January 19, 2017

WEST OF SUNSET-West Of Sunset (1992)


It's a rise and shine affair for this next music treat, as more good tunes from the world of easy-listening music have awakened my senses and filled my ears with joy! In a past conversation regarding the Dutch band called TEN SHARP and a song of theirs called "Dreamhome (Dream On)", a bit of name-dropping of a then-unknown-to-me band called WEST OF SUNSET had sparked some interest when it was mentioned that the sound is similar to a band I know and love dearly: GO WEST. Seeing how much I adore the joint talents of Peter Cox and Richard Drummie, I knew that I was in for something else good with this yet-to-be-heard WEST OF SUNSET. So two years later, here I am about to rave about this Westcoast AOR duo—who originate from my favorite Scandivavian country of Sweden, no less!—while I'm still learning in my understanding of what true Westcoast AOR is. Well I'd get some more schooling immediately upon taking in the opening gem, "Giving My Heart Away", where the melodic pop/rock sound is soooooooooo ear-appealing! Combined with that the vocals of lead singer Björn Strom and the excellent hook, and I enjoyed what is actually a complete all-around song, which stuck to me even more when the pitch is taken up for the final movements. It would be on the follow-up title track where I would totally notice Björn Strom's vocal similarities to GO WEST's Peter Cox; this song too is a soft rock delight, given its fluid mid-tempo arrangement and its warming words of meeting a special woman in an imagined romantic, picturesque landscape. "Ocean Boulevard": My first keepsake from this WEST OF SUNSET adventure has the lovliest of opening intros—the unified background singers delivering the 'ooooh' and 'ahhhhhh'—and has a more pure pop kick than soft rock, an excellent hook and outstanding vocals all the way through; they sure made some waves with this one! Cold is the mood, however, when "Now You're Gone" washes ashore—a very haunting tune where Björn's mellow vocals telling about a woman who has departed from his life. I like how his voice trails off and soars with the aching delivery of title lyrics; it adds to the unsettled feeling of emptiness, which is projected at the very end with the song seeming to hang off the edge of a cliff. The perfect bookend to that one is "Homeward Bound"—no, not the movie about the pooches and their feline companion, but a song that sees him finding himself and realizing that his heart was always there and he'd never left in the first place. There's a trio of songs here that are really fun: the instantly energizing, harder-rock jam, "Gimme Your Love"; the pop/reggae-bouncy "Time Is All We Need" (it's that old adage that time heals all broken wounds that serves as the theme on this one); and the supremely catch, "Gotta Have It All" (tons of cool things happening with the production of this piece—from the light bagpipe-sounding melodies to the awesome hook that is the sing-along chorus to even the way that Björn's says 'have' in his distinctively Swedish accent). Somehow, I knew that this adventure would end with a gripping ballad of some kind, and only moments into "Before I Trust My Heart", there were indicators of exactly that. The sad chords and the graveness of his vocals in the first verse already took hold of me before the song evolved into the power ballad that it truly did become in the chorus—a marvelously magical masterpiece! Can't get away with just hearing it once, though; I vow to enjoy this new-found favorite of mine at least one more time before the sun sets here after another good day here at "The Music Spectrum":

1. Giving My Heart Away
2. West Of Sunset
3. Ocean Boulevard
4. Now You're Gone
5. Gimme Your Love
6. Time Is All We Need
7. Gotta Have It All
8. I Just Wanna Hold You
9. Homeward Bound
10. Taking A Chance
11. Before I Trust My Heart

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