Album review: JAGGED EDGE – Fuel For Your Soul / Trouble (Remasters w/bonus tracks)

JAGGED EDGE - Fuel For Your Soul / Trouble (Remasters w/bonus tracks)

Bad Reputation [Release date 30.07.21]

A cracking little package: 2 CDs remastered and laden with bonus material, from Eighties’ hard rock band, Jagged Edge, brought to us by French label, Bad Reputation.

The band, formed by guitarist Myke Gray in the early eighties, initially stumbled through more line up changes than any team managed by Pep Guardiola. By 1989 they had settled on vocalist Matti (Bam Bam Boys) Alfonzetti, Andy (Tokyo Blade/Shogun) Robins on bass and drummer, Fabio Del Rio.

The band’s first significant studio recordings, Trouble (EP), and the full length Fuel For The Soul, are featured here, with ten bonus tracks across the 2 CDs. Both were released in 1990.

The extended version (from 5 to 13 tracks, inc 4 live) of Trouble wins hands down. It’s a gutsy, relatively unpolished tilt at US style hard rock. The title track and ‘You Don’t Love Me’ (which is so good they used it twice, a version appears on Fuel…) are honest, carefully crafted rock songs, written and delivered with passion and flair.

Of the bonus stuff … B-sides and Live tracks … a rare showing of ‘Life In The Fast Lane’ (live Eagles’ cover) and the chunky rock charms of the slightly underpowered ‘Rock The Nation’ are the picks.  ***1/2

In aiming to replicate what was now the corporate rock sound of US AOR, the tailored Fuel For The Soul sometimes slipped over the edge into a world of lowest common denominator.

It was unwisely ambitious, aiming at too many targets. Only the balladic title track, the slow burning ‘Liar’ and ‘You Don’t Love Me’ have the kind of heart and soul that were the prerequisites of chart aimed rock. Other tracks are too full of the breathless sentimentality that marred the genre. By 1990, AOR had almost become a parody of itself.

Still, this expanded version finishes with two classy bonus tracks that for some reason missed the original cut. And of these, ‘Money Talking’ is the standout, a fun, lightly shaded blues rock song. It had the chorus and the airless momentum needed to break through. But didn’t get the opportunity, until now.  ***

Review by Brian McGowan

David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 12 September 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at for that week.

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