Celtic Swan Recordings [Release date 6.05.13]
Bonnie Tyler was asked back in the 1980s to represent the UK at Eurovision but politely declined. With success since those heady days coming primarily in Europe and relying heavily on past glories, she wasn’t about to miss the opportunity to get a Europe wide TV audience of 120 million to essentially promote her new album.
Produced in Nashville by David Huff, with songwriting credits including Desmond Child and Beth Hart, and a duet with country giant Vince Gill, Rocks And Honey was never conceived with Eurovision in mind. That came by chance when someone connected with the event at the BBC, and who’d heard ‘Believe In Me’, approached her.
The result was definite ‘yes’ and the UK release of the album was put back to coincide with the 58th Eurovision. I guess the first thing to say is that, now in her sixties (the new forties?) Bonnie’s vocals sound just as distinct and powerful as they ever did. The years have certainly taken no audible toll.
The second is that with a team of quality AOR songwriters on board, the material is consistently strong. But, and there’s always a ‘but’, the likes of Desmond Child have also remained somewhat time locked in the eighties. So while the album may have been produced in Nashville – the current centre of the music universe - it’s essentially eighties big hair and shoulder pad soft pop/rock given a makeover.
And, actually, it’s an enjoyable power pop ride. Big guitars, big choruses, big vocal performance. No matter how the single fared at Eurovision it’s nice to see one of Britain’s most successful back and sitting comfortably in the saddle. Pop – pensioner orientated power pop – just got a shot of adrenaline. ***1/2
Review by Pete Whalley
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