AIRRACE – Shaft Of Light [Rock Candy remaster +2]
This is one of the albums from the first wave of ’80s British melodic hard rock / AOR nothing less than indispensable in your collection; “Shaft Of Light“, by AIRRACE. The Rock Candy remastered reissue is a sonic pot of gold, including 2 great bonus tracks.
Influenced predominantly by superstar American acts such as Foreigner, Journey and Survivor came a new breed of British melodic rock / AOR band ready and willing to take on the competition with a sense of energy and professionalism that, if lady luck had been smiling in the right direction, might have catapulted them to the same dizzying heights of success.
FM, Shy, Tobruk, Lionheart, Strangeways and Grand Prix were the main frontrunners but it wasn’t until Airrace arrived that the scene gained a real contender for the NWOBMM (New Wave Of British Melodic Metal) throne.
The band was founded by guitarist Laurie Mansworth (ex-More) in September 1982 and later – after a couple of line-up changes – completed with the likes of Jim Reid (ex-Bordello) on bass, Jason Bonham (son of John Bonham from Led Zeppelin) on drums, Toby Sadler (ex-White Spirit) on keys and last but not least the mighty Keith Murrell (ex-Moontier). The latter replaced Phil Lewis (ex-Girl), who sounded too gritty for a melodic rock band like Airrace.
Signed to the giant and hugely influential Atlantic label, they headed straight to New York City, recording with one of the top American producers of the day, namely Beau Hill, the man behind platinum albums from Ratt, Warrant, Winger, Kix, Europe and Twisted Sister.
“Shaft Of Light” is a masterpiece of catchy hook laden tunes with tough-guy guitar riffs, quality keyboards and the superior vocals of Murrell, who has one of the greatest rock voices of all time.
With awesome tracks like ‘Promise To Call’, ‘First One Over The Line’ (Foreigner-like and plenty of keyboards), ‘Do You Want My Love Again’ or ‘Didn’t Wanna Lose Ya’, this album is generally considered as one of the best British AOR / melodic rock albums of the ’80s.
This Rock Candy re-issue comes with two really interesting bonus tracks, both being recorded with producer Tony Platt in 1982 at the beginning of Airrace and showcasing how the band evolved until this “Shaft Of Light”.
This is a really excellent 24-bit remastering from original source tapes, plus a must read 4,000 word story of the making of the album, full involvement by the band and rare photos, all spread out over a superb 16 page full color booklet.
A milestone in ’80s AOR, as Airrace’s “Shaft Of Light” much defined the sound to come in the genre, at least in Europe.
ESSENTIAL in your collection.
01. I Don’t Care
02. Promise To Call
03. First One Over The Line
04. Open Your Eyes
05. Not Really Me
06. Brief Encounter
07. Caught In The Game
08. Do You Want My Love Again
09. Didn’t Wanna Lose Ya
10. All I’m Asking
11. Not Really Me
12. She Cant Come Out
Keith Murrell (vocals)
Jason Bonham (drums)
Laurie Mansworth (guitar, backing vocals)
Toby Sadler (keyboards, bass, backing vocals)
Jim Reid (bass, guitar)
BUY IT !