Wanderlust – All A View
Sometimes I don’t know whether to rejoice when a band finishes an LP, they started 25 years ago & never completed or, demur & wonder what reasons were to shelve it. Why a major label (RCA) declined? Business conflicts? Bandmate squabbles? Just dropped by the label.
It’s happened before – Alda Reserve released 1 LP on Sire (“Love Goes On”) & their 2nd surfaced years later. Jules & the Polar Bears (Jules Shear) had 2 Columbia LPs but their third never came until decades later. In the case of RCA – even with Robert Fripp, Darryl Hall’s (Hall & Oates) solo LP “Sacred Songs,” was shelved. Until fan protests made RCA put it out.
Though they added new songs, turned some bare-boned recordings into finished pieces by overdubbing. The mid-90s power-pop group that existed for 6 years issued a single RCA LP. For the new music, they have been together since 2011 & recorded. But possibilities glowed when front man & songwriter Scot Sax found a DAT tape from the 90s with acoustic versions of the songs for the second LP in 2020
All A View (Independent-Drops July 2) finds the band resurrected. Joining Sax is bassist Mark Getten, drummer Jim Cavanaugh. Guitarist Ron Bonfiglio (also released solo LPs, produced, performed with The Beach Boys, & with solo Brian Wilson). Scot Sax was a film-maker, hit songwriter, co-writing a Grammy-winning song, & solo artist (on Robert Plant-Alison Krauss Raising Sand tour).
Track 1 “All a View,” has gratifying instrumental passages with vocals reminiscent of 70s pop-rock bands – Trickster (“Back to Zero” 1979 LP, specifically “Tomorrow Belongs To Me” “Road to Nowhere” & “Bump In the Night”) can also be found on “Corduroy Moon.” By cut 2 the beat shift & rhythm is what made the 90s pop-rock bands exciting. Scot’s vocal is strong throughout, melodic & reminiscent of that Trickster songbook in this manner from the 70s & early 80s with power & conviction: (Australia’s astonishing Jimmy Barnes with Cold Chisel, (“Wild Colonial Boy”), New Zealand’s Dragon with Mark Hunter (“April Sun In Cuba”).
Wanderlust sculpted their AOR/pop route with strength, distinction, had exceptional instrumentation for a small unit. By “20 Million Pieces,” they cruise with a more English pop delivery. Mindful of the masterful work of Stackridge (once produced by George Martin). This particular Wanderlust song is good with its brief Samba beat. While not as beautiful as The Triffids song of the same name, Wanderlust’s “Trick of the Light,” has thrust & fiery guitars. Good Scot Sax vocals. They’re consistent.
Dramatically they teeter on Kansas tenor, sing better than REO Speedwagon, & never approach the bombastic sound of Styx. The slicing lead guitar adds the necessary ecstatic electricity. “I Can Be Moved,” is another well-crafted rocker, excellent lead guitar & vocals. I have their first “Prize,” CD & it’s worth re-exploring. Maybe RCA should give a second look.
The 10-cut, 33-minute CD produced by Wanderlust is available @ https://www.wanderlustfans.com/