How is it that this obscure band, who made just this single album in 1986, always feature highly alongside far more successful names in polls like this of the best ever AOR albums?
Well, ‘Frontline’ is quite simply one of the best opening songs on any album, and an illustration of what makes this one special- big, instantly memorable choruses. ‘Back On The Street’, ‘Comeback’ and ‘Can’t Stop’ are other examples, but best of all is ‘Wrong Place, Wrong Time’- which could be seen as an accurate description of the band’s fate.
Band members had been on the East Coast scene for years in acts like THE ILLUSSION, WIGGY BITS and NETWORK, and indeed the album has the feel of other acts from that region like early BON JOVI and FRANKIE AND THE KNOCKOUTS. Singer Ernie White may have a not very rock n roll name but has a strong yet perfectly pitched melodic voice. There are plenty of keys as you would expect, yet the guitars of Richie Cerniglia and Ernie White are equally prominent. The songs are polished by a typically sympathetic production from Neil Kernon, who has overseen many of the best AOR albums of all time.
It’s an up-tempo album with no out-and-out ballads, though both ‘Don’t Turn Away’ and ‘Magic’ ooze melodic class with a more mid-tempo feel to them. In contrast ‘Never Let The Rock Stop’ is a rockier number aimed at the BON JOVI and DOKKEN market. The one weaker song is ‘Every Schoolboy Knows’, with a sound similar to Robert Palmer’s work at the time, solo and with the POWER STATION, but ‘Through the Night’ ends the album on a high with massive vocal and guitar hooks, like an American FM.
They sank without trace – though Ernie White wrote with Richie Sambora and released a fine heartland rock album Scenes from America years later. One of the great lost bands that should have been massive, but at least they gave us this classic to enjoy.