Review: Drive, She Said – Pedal To The Metal – Frontiers Music – Release: Out Now.
In the late 80’s keyboardist and songwriter extraordinaire Mark Mangold (Valhalla, American Tears, Touch, Michael Bolton) met, through a mutual friend/songwriter, Al Fritsch coming out from the experience with the band TZR.
Drive, She Said released their sublime debut album in 1989 and two years later the follow-up “Drivin’ Wheel” was also a gem! The band slowly dissolved and in 1997 a best of was released. Out of the blue came a fourth album in 2003 with “Real Life”. But again news around the band stopped. But with the performance from Touch at Firefest in 2014 Mark was eager to rock again. So he reached out to Frontiers and the label willingly agreed to work on another Drive, She Said album which could showcase again the amazing talents of the Mangold/Fritsch duo.
Drive, She Said are:
Lead vocals – Al Fritsch
Guitars – Tommy Denander, Al Fritsch, Daniel Palmqvist
Keyboards – Mark Mangold, Al Fritsch
Bass – Ken Sandin, Al Fritsch, Paul St. James, Aleessandro Del Vecchio
Drums – Pontus ENgborg, Peter Yttergren, Francesco Jovino, Kenny Aronoff
Background vocals – Goran Edman, Chandler Mogel, Ted Poley, Al Fritsch, Mark Mangold, Kevin Osborne, Randy Jackson, James Jackson, Thomas Vikstrom, Peppy Castro
Vocals ‘IM The Nyte’ – Al, Mark with special appearance by Kayvon Zand
Vocal duet on ‘In Your Arms’ – Al and Fiona
Pedal To The Metal
You can safely say that Mark and Al are back for good when you hear opener ‘Touch’. Catchy tunes, great harmonies, layered keys and the still powerful voice of Al make this a real treat for the fans of the band. The rocking title track lets us enjoy an even better symbiosis between the keys and the guitar.
‘In R Blood’ could easily have been taken from that mind blowing debut album. This kind of album makes me wish I was back in the 80’s again so that I could see those bands live on stage again. The genre was truly booming and blossoming! But there is still hope for me, because the band was on stage at the Frontiers Rock festival in Milan last weekend.
A ballad can’t be missed on a melodic rock release. So the sweet as honey ‘Said It All’ is the first romantic track in this dozen! ‘Writing On The Wall’ has a fast pace and holds many short guitar spots! The instrumental break even holds a rather long old school Hammond and keys solo spot!
‘Rainbows And Hurricanes’ has a modern touch and the soaring vocal melodies from Al during the chorus are superb. ‘Love Will Win In The End’ has a harder edged guitar and ‘Rain Of Fire’ also throws the keys into the ring to battle with the guitar!
‘In Your Arms’ is the second ballad, but this time around with an emphasis on the keys. The lovely voice of Fiona joins Al and the song becomes a real romantic duet! Mark and Al have incorporated some new elements and they play with dance tunes and voice effects on the poppy ‘IM The Nyte’.
‘Lost In You’ also has a pumping beat, but this track is more of a pop rocker with a Eurovision song contest vibe! ‘All I Wanna Do’ is an acoustic track with wonderful, warm vocals. This album ends in the less is more tradition!
This comeback from Mangold/Fritsch surprised me big time. My expectations weren’t that high, but when I first heard the album my eyes got misty from pure happiness and joy. The album is an excellent mixture of pure AOR tunes, more rocking tracks and some newly introduced dance influences. It can’t beat that awesome debut, but I will listen to this album every day without getting bored of it! I simply love the keys on this album! Hopefully the band will do a small Euro tour in the near future! But for an American bands that isn’t an easy thing to do!
Score: 3,95 out of 5
2. Pedal To The Metal
3. In R Blood
4. Said It All
5. Writing On The Wall
6. Rainbows And Hurricanes
7. Love Will Win In The End
8. Rain Of Fire
9. In Your Arms
10. IM The Nyte
11. Lost In You
12. All I Wanna Do
Tekst: Rik Bauters