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(76:06, Jam Recordings)
TRACK LIST: 1. I Don't Want to See You Cry 4:00 2. Love I Never Knew 3:33 3. Translated 3:13 4. Toward the Sky 3:37 5. Child Inside 4:37 6. Mark's Song 1:50 7. Alive 1:20 8. Heaven at Midnight 3:37 9. Monday Morning 4:40 10. Turn My Head Around 2:47 11. The Key 2:17 12. Part of Me Part of You 7:17 13. Alive Again 5:30 14. The Second Coming 1:47 15. Tear Down the Walls 6:07 16. I Can't Live Without You 3:37 17. Fly Away 4:37 18. Magnet Love 3:33 19. Home Tonight 3:47 20. Waiting for You Now 2:53 21. April's Song 1:47 LINEUP: Jeremy Morris – vocals; guitars, bass; keyboards; percussion Dave Dietrich – drums With: Bill Morris – trumpet, saxophone (3, 19)
Prolusion. Originally released in 1983, "Alive" is the debut album by JEREMY (Morris), a highly prolific US artist who released a plethora of productions in the three decades he has been active. As his first creation has been unavailable for some time now, reissuing it in the anniversary year must have seemed like a good idea, and as usual when it comes to these kinds of releases, previously unreleased bonus tracks have been included for added value.
Analysis. Quite a few only familiar with Jeremy's most recent efforts in the melodic creative arts will find themselves somewhat surprised when playing his debut album the first time around. After an opening sequence dominated by wind synth, lush keyboard layers and some added nuances by bass and acoustic guitar, heavy distorted Black Sabbath-tinged riff patterns crawl out of the loudspeaker. Which they do to a lesser or greater extent for the next three songs too, the last of these perhaps a tad more similar to Judas Priest in general style though. The style explored on these creations isn't a replication of the genre explored by these bands; that has to be said, keyboards and synths are very much present and Jeremy's pop sensibilities are present even at this early stage of his career, but the heavy riffs still come somewhat as a surprise. And in a case of “expect the unexpected”, this creation unfolds further surprises as the tracks come and go. The fifth song Child Inside is a surprisingly weak effort from Jeremy, a nice ballad in itself but sadly ruined by a way-too dominating electronic circulating rhythmic sound. Innovative at the time of its creation I presume, but 25 years on it is more likely to come across as annoying as I see it. After this effort the rest of the songs on the original album here basically fall into two categories: compositions influenced by and similar to the Electric Light Orchestra (although a case could be argued for direct Beatles as well) and symphonic rock pretty similar to classic Genesis in style. The 8 bonus tracks have a similar spread in terms of sound and influences, opening with some backwards played keyboard-dominated effort, heavy on the psychedelic leanings due to that very specific nature of the song, followed by a more hard rocking creation sounding pretty much like a slightly dampened Iron Maiden-influenced song, with AOR-tinged tracks, Beatles-influenced efforts and some symphonic workouts following. It's obvious that this album was a rather adventurous affair when it was released, and it's not difficult to comprehend why it gained popularity. Especially the hard rock-tinged efforts would have been popular back then, at what was the start of a decade where hard rock and metal became mainstream music. 25 years on these compositions do sound rather dated though, some still intriguing and fascinating, while others come across as decent efforts only, probably rather innovative in 1983 but without the qualities to make them timeless classics.
Conclusion. This release should be rather interesting for existing fans of Jeremy. Those who bought it 25 years ago will probably feel like it's a good idea to get this one on CD by now, while those who discovered this artist at a later stage get to discover more of his musical roots on this creation. Apart from those, people with an interest in rock music from the early ‘80s might want to check out this effort due to the somewhat eclectic and adventurous musical explorations, offering more variation than what was the norm for a rock album at the time it was recorded.
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