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ROBIN MCAULEY Standing On The Edge

By Jay Roberts, Massachusetts Contributor
Monday, May 17, 2021 @ 1:19 PM


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ROBIN MCAULEY
Standing On The Edge

Frontiers Music Srl - 2021
http://www.robinmcauley.com




When I first heard the news, I was really excited at the prospect of a Robin McAuley solo album. I've been a huge fan of his singing since I first heard him on the first MCAULEY-SCHENKER GROUP album Perfect Timing. Yes, I learned of his past material with the likes of GRAND PRIX and FAR CORPORATION after the fact. I also followed him when he was frontiing SURVIVOR but I've really keyed on the albums he did with MCAULEY-SCHENKER GROUP. So when I got to see him a couple years back on the Schenkerfest tour, I was in musical nirvana.

But strangely, it wasn't until last year that I learned he had done a solo album called Business As Usual back in 1999. I tried to find a copy of it but that thing (when you can find it) is really expensive.

However, with Standing On The Edge I had the chance to hear his solo work for the first time.

With the album coming out on the Frontiers label, it should come as no surprise that the album features the heavy input from the label's in-house maestro Alessandro Del Vecchio. He co-wrote 8 of the 11 songs as well as produced and played both bass and keyboards on the album. Normally, that would make me question just how much input the name artist had in the creation of the album but McAuley co-wrote each of the 11 songs so I had no worries there.

Given McAuley's past, you can imagine that Standing On The Edge would be densely packed with richly textured hard driving melodic rock that mixes in both rocking numbers packed with plenty of six string riffs and more than a fair share of hook laden tracks that help showcase the singer's voice in its best light. And you wouldn't be wrong.

Songs like the opening "Thy Will Be Done" and "Do You Remember" get things off in a quickly moving pace as McAuley's voice fuels the soundtrack and vice versa to grab your ear and never let go.

The album does feature a couple of ballads that are at the opposite end of the spectrum for that song style. While "Run Away" is more of a standard kind of love song with a focus centered on the softer side of the song, the track "Late December" is far more of a "power ballad", emphasis on the power part of that description. It still wears its sentiments on its sleeve but doesn't get overly sappy. I actually quite enjoyed that one.

Robin McAuley goes for more of a topical lyrical viewpoint on the album's title track that takes a look at just how the world is these days and where it seems to be heading. This is further illustrated by the album's artwork. The end of an unhappy relationship serves as the entry point for "Say Goodbye" which has an excellent song that when you combine it with a fantastic chorus, you get musical magic!

The hook of a well written chorus that becomes an earworm for the listener is always welcome in the music I listen to and on this disc, you get that feeling in spades. Songs like "Chosen Few" rocks out pretty good but that melodious chorus makes you really key into the song. The song was one of two that Robin McAuley wrote with Tommy Denander, the Swedish guitarist and in-demand songwriter. The other track was the aforementioned "Do You Remember". I'd love to see these two work together more in the future.

The song "Like A Ghost" was written with McAuley's former GRAND PRIX bandmate Phil Lanzon (now with URIAH HEEP). Assuming I am not reading them wrong, the lyrics paint kind of nightmarish picture. While keyboards play a big part in the album as a whole, I thought they were really up front in the mix throughout this track in particular. Yet at the same time, the song didn't sacrifice any of the more rocking aspects of the music.

I loved the feel of "Wanna Take A Ride". The song is an ode to the feeling of taking off on the open road with no particular destination in mind. You can really feel the sense of freedom the song is trying to convey. While hitting the open road isn't really a desire of mine, this track made me think of a friend of mine for whom going on that kind of trip fuels her soul.

The vocals from McAuley are superb throughout the album. I know that is stating the obvious but man I love his voice. But his delivery on "Supposed To Do Now" (co-written with both Delvecchio and ex-HEART guitarist Howard Leese) was such a killer performance that I had to point it out.

To this point, I've purposely avoided mentioning guitarist Andrea Seveso. But it is time to rectify that. The guitarist's playing on this album was absolutely phenomenal. The work put in by Seveso makes these songs "sing" in a way you might not have quite been expecting. Never is that so clear than on the stunning closing song "Running Out Of Time". This is almost certainly my favorite song on the album. The band thoroughly cuts loose with the track, bringing both the fire and fury to an amped up and electrifyingly intense rocker. The guitar work on this song is fuel-injected with a solo that had me thinking the word "awesome" as I heard it. McAuley's voice is a blazing ball of adrenaline throughout and the song just closes out the album on such a high note that you want to hear it all over again!

Robin McAuley's Standing On The Edge is a flat out great release. It's got all the hard rocking yet melodic fury you could hope for in an album full of great songs and energetic performances. This is an album that will be seen as a classic in the years to come and I just freaking love it!

4.8 Out Of 5.0


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