GUARDIAN – Miracle Mile [Remastered Gold Disc Edition] (2020) *EXCLUSIVE*
We’ve been waiting a lot this Remastered Gold Disc Edition of GUARDIAN‘s “Miracle Mile“, a killer melodic hard rock album produced by Dino and John Elefante. Regarded as Guardian’s finest moment, the record pushed them far beyond anything they had ever done before.
“Miracle Mile” showcases Guardian locked in as a cohesive unit, being fun, imaginative, creative, built over the same early 90s ‘big sound’ of bands like Mr.Big, Tesla, Extreme and Giant but still distinctly Guardian.
Teaming up with the Elefante brothers (Kansas / Mastedon) for their 1991’s Fire And Love album was a game-changing move for Guardian. The CD was an overwhelming hit with fans, in regular rotation on MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball, and the band turned into the consummate road warriors with extensive US touring throughout 1991 and a European tour with Stryper in 1992.
With all the touring, the band made the decision to move, families and all, from Los Angeles to Nashville in order to take things to the next level.
Not content to make their third album ‘Fire And Love Part 2’, Guardian reflected on two years of touring all their success, and began to dream of what album number three might be like.
While in terms of sound “Miracle Mile” is classic early 90s American Melodic Hard Rock recorded with the trademark Elefante bros huge production, pretty similar in high energy and melodic delivery as its predecessor, songwriting-wise it is a completely different animal.
Musically, it diverges into bluesier yet sharp hard rock riffs, more harmony vocal arrangements, it adds acoustical themes with the addition of strings, mandolin, etc – muck like Mr. Big and Extreme were doing at the time.
In short, “Miracle Mile” is a more creative and varied effort when factoring its better material.
Album opens to one of the all time classic Guardian cuts in “Dr. Jones & The Kings Of Rhythm”. With Jamie Rowe’s raspy croon of ‘well I’ve been walkin’ down that Miracle Mile’ to start, the song takes off to a backbone of monster groove in establishing the larger than life hooks and unflagging melodic hard rock energy to pigeonhole the standout ‘Miracle Mile’ material.
“Shoeshine Johnny” represents another top of the line showstopper. The song finds a heavy horn section making its first appearance, aligning with David Bach’s rumbling bass and heartfelt hints of singular blues to successfully acquire that ‘Gospel tinged rock and roll’ essence in question.
Album ups aggression with “Long Way Home”. What we have is a riff driven bludgeoner to find Tony Palacios at the top of his game, laying down the catchy rhythm guitar hook foundation to join a heightened tempo (energy is off the charts) with the meaningfully melodic (commercial but simmering is the feel to resonate).
“I Found Love” is a classic power ballad yet midtempo in pace, so early 90s, then “Sweet Mystery” is acoustically based, very American, in the vein of Tesla’s ‘Five Man Acoustically Jam’.
“Let It Roll” carries forward the up-tempo sentiments with its front to back battering guitars and vehement hooks to garner with repeat play. Backing vocals play the more prevalent role, emboldening the affable refrain, as does the bluesy sentiments, with heightened soulful signatures the upshot.
Heaviness elevates with “Mr. Do Wrong”, cascading to walls of churlish guitars as Rowe digs deep in lending some intense emotion to his already soulful delivery. The successive sass and snarl peaks in the form of the barbed refrain.
“Curiosity Killed The Cat” reveals a high-energy Van-Halen-ish sound, hookky and guitar driven as Palacios again puts on a catchy rhythm and flaming lead guitar clinic. This one was made for FM Rock radio in an era when FM radio unfortunately was not paying attention.
“Sister Wisdom” rocks. With guitar feedback to start, the song maintains a hard charging mid-tempo aura its span in screaming of pure emotion but evoking a seamless melody as the group hits its stride in composing one of its finest cuts ever.
More fun comes with the commercial melodic hard uptempo “You & I”, and “Do You Know What Love Is” is a strong heavy rocking ballad.
Whereas the Elefante production to the original recording was great for its time, re-mastering takes things to the next level in adding an extra dose of polish.
Guitars in particular deliver added edge and bite, while backing details such as bass, drums and harmony vocals stand out with greater clarity.
This is the Guardian’s defining moment, at the top of their game. Give credit to Retroactive Records for making it available again such a highly upgraded format.
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01 – Dr. Jones & The Kings of Rhythm
02 – Shoeshine Johnny
03 – Long Way Home
04 – I Found Love
05 – Sweet Mystery
06 – Let It Roll
07 – Mr. Do Wrong
08 – Curiosity Killed the Cat
09 – Sister Wisdom
10 – The Captain
11 – You & I
12 – Do You Know What Love Is
Jamie Rowe – Lead Vocals
Tony Palacios – Guitars
David Bach – Bass
Karl Ney – Drums
J.R. McNeely – Bass
Jamie Wollam – Drums
John Elefante – Piano & Keyboards
The Fabulous Martin Brothers – Horns
Ian Sebreti – Percussion
Brandon Starr, Jameeca LaFleur, Olivia McClurkin – Backing Vocals
The Orange County Wire Choir – Strings