Atom Records [Release date 29.07.16]
One of the most extensive PR packs that I’ve seen accompanies this release – it looks more like an upmarket property purchase pack than a band/album synopsis. Although listings for the last three years of every gig the band have played, every interview they’ve done, and every airplay does seem a little OTT.
But then the 1980s were an OTT period, and Cornerstone – a female fronted four-piece from Austria – unashamedly model themselves on that golden era of adult orientated – FM radio friendly – rock.
They have the sound of the period – epitomised by Steve Wachelhofer’s crunchy Kenny Loggins’ Danger Zone style of guitar playing – absolutely ‘nailed’ on the opener ‘Nothing To Lose’ – and it’s nice to hear the era revitalised with such panache. Co-songwriter, brother Michael also has the bass sound deployed by Trevor Horn for bands like ABC, Frankie Goes To Hollywood and Spandau Ballet down to a tee on numbers like ‘True Confessions’.
From the opening strains you’re immediately transported back to the sound of bands like Quarterflash – who although never dominating the charts/airwaves – typified all that was good about the genre. There’s also the almost obligatory inclusion of some period sax on the dreamy ‘Last Night’.
Signed to the US-based Atom Records label, each of their two previous releases – Head Over Heels (2008) and Somewhere In America (2011) – has featured a different female vocalist. The latest holder of the role – Alina Peter – doesn’t wholly convince either – her diction, at times, making the lyrics of some great hooks, choruses, and pre-choruses, almost impenetrable without a lyric sheet at hand.
There’s some evidence that the band have found it difficult to break out in their own right, with their biggest audiences being when they’ve played support to some of the mainstays of the era. And with some of those classic acts finding it difficult to attract audiences outside of three or four-way package tours, I suspect Cornerstone – despite some great songwriting, playing, and production – are likely to remain a relatively well-kept secret. ***
Review by Pete Whalley
UK tour dates (Summer 2016)
Jul 28 Northampton, The King Billy
Jul 29 Boston, The Axe & Cleaver
[Support: I GOT SPIDERS]
Jul 30 Hull The Saltshouse Tavern
Jul 31 Newark-on-Trent, The Flying Circus
Aug 02 Wakefield, The Snooty Fox
Aug 03 Garforth, Lord Gascoigne
Aug 04 Grimsby, Yardbirds Rock Club
Aug 05 Barrow-in-Furness, The Derby Hotel & Music Bar
Aug 06 Hull, Sutton Fields
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