Birmingham based melodic rockers Magnum have always been known for their depth of songwriting; for every rocker, there’s been a ballad with lyrics as strong as the music. Delivered with power and passion.
This, their 20th studio album, compiles ten of their best ballads (whittled down from the initial choice of 16), in remastered, remixed or rerecorded form.
The band have been going since the early 70s, with their debut album appearing in 1978. Bar a break in the 90s, the band have perennially fronted by singer Bob Catley and guitarist / songwriter Tony Clarkin and still sound fantastic. Since their 2002 comeback ‘Breath Of Life’ the band have produced some solid and polished rock of the finest quality.
The opener ‘Dream About You’ (form ‘Breath Of Life’) is a solid number that sounds bright and moving, as does ‘Back In Your Arms Again’ from 1994’s ‘Rock Art’.
Standouts are ‘Lonely Night’ and the live version of ‘When The World Comes Down’. The rest of the selection comes from the 90s or post 2002, which may indicate how much the band have mellowed.
The sound is fantastic, the rerecordings and remastered tracks sound perfect side by side.
Proof that the songwriting is exemplary and the band performance matches. Solid, melodic, heavy, powerful. There are occasions a hint of strain comes into the vocals, but that is part of life.
The music cannot be faulted, especially if you like Magnum’s more balladic edge. Even a guitar solo here and there.
It’s very easy to question both the track listing and as an album ‘Why?’; personally I hope it’s a stopgap with a new album on the way.
In the meantime, it’s a side of a classic British rock band that should be celebrated and enjoyed. 8/10
01 Dream About You (remastered)
02 Back in Your Arms Again (newly re-recorded)
03 The Valley of Tears (remixed, remastered)
04 Broken Wheel (newly re-recorded)
05 A Face in the Crowd (remixed, remastered)
06 Your Dreams Won’t Die (remastered)
07 Lonely Night (acoustic version, newly re-recorded)
08 The Last Frontier (remixed, remastered)
09 Putting Things In Place (remixed, remastered)
10 When The World Comes Down (new live version)
Tony Clarkin – guitars
Bob Catley – vocals
Mark Stanway – keyboards
Al Barrow – bass
Harry James – drums
06.12.GB-Brighton – Concorde 2
07.12.GB-Cambridge – Junction
09.12.IE-Dublin – Voodoo Lounge
10.12.GB-Wolverhampton – Wulfrun Hall
11.12.GB-Edinburgh – Liquid Rooms