MelodicRock Records [Release date 22.09.17]
Here’s a band I thought I’d never hear new music from and I am very glad to be proved wrong. Boulevard are a Canadian band who released two albums – 1988′s self-titled debut and 1990′s ‘Into the Street’ – before disbanding in 1991. They did enjoy success in their native Canada and became a cult AOR/melodic rock band amongst the fans of the genre. Fast forward to 2014 and they reformed playing a well received set at that year’s Firefest and released a live DVD in 2015.
Now we have the band’s third studio album (the IV in the album title refers to the fact that the band count the live DVD as album number three). The band’s line-up includes mainstays David Forbes (vocals), Dave Corman (guitars), Andrew Johns (keyboards/vocals), Mark Holden (saxophone) and Randall Stoll (drums) plus relative newcomer Cory Curtis (bass), who lays down some funky bass lines listen out on ‘Come Together’ for proof.
The two opening songs, ‘Out Of The Blue’ and ‘Life Is A Beautiful Thing’, are fine examples of how classy melodic rock is made. Both feature glorious harmony vocals, lashings of keys, classy guitar solos, the melodic vocals of David Forbes and the band’s secret weapon, the sax playing of Mark Holden. The way his sax playing links in with the key and guitars is something special and his solos even replace a guitar solo at one stage. Both songs have positive, uplifting lyrics that raise the spirits no matter what your mood.
‘What I’d Give’ is a soaring ballad, just about beating the gospel tinged ’Confirmation’ as the ballad of the album. David Forbes still has his vocal power and it is a real shame we have had to wait this long for a new Boulevard album.
Oh and if you need some serious rocking, look no further than ‘Slipping Away’, which features a guest spot from long time Bryan Adams’ guitarist Keith Scott. Shades of .38 Special on this one, perfect rock music for a summer’s day.
Not one filler on the album, my only complaint is that eleven songs is not enough! However, give me quality over quantity any day with music.
One of this year’s, and indeed any year, melodic rock/AOR albums. If you loved the band back in the day this is a ‘must have’ and for those who enjoy the music of Chicago and Toto you will lap this one up. ****1/2
Review by Jason Ritchie
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