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Glasgow – Zero Four One (Reissue)

Glasgow
Zero Four One (Reissue)
by Leanne Evans at 18 February 2021, 12:39 PM

Emerging from the Scottish City of Glasgow, AOR band GLASGOW started their journey in the 1980’s, rubbing shoulders with the likes of URIAH HEAP and NAZARETH. Vocalist Michael Boyle formed the bands HEAVEN and WILDCAT, the latter being where he met Archie Dickson, Neil Russell and Joe Kilna; here, GLASGOW was born. Despite some epic support performances, GLASGOW never quite broke through into the big time, turning down an offer for a full album with Neat Records, presumably waiting for a bigger label. The band did, however, release a three-track EP on Clyde Records in 1984 as a promotional tool instead, including what would become their signature song, “Under The Lights”.

The album “Zero Four One” – ‘041’ being the telephone dialling code for the City of Glasgow back in the day - is a re-release of GLASGOW’s 1987 debut. Originally an eight-track album produced by Kenny Denton (having worked with THE WHO and STATUS QUO), the 2021 release comes with a bonus track from 1988, “Will You Be Mine”. “Zero Four One” is a mixture of hard rock and AOR, with some special guest appearances from Stephen “Hamie” Hayman of HEAVY PETTIN’, Don Airey of JETHRO TULL, RAINBOW and DEEP PURPLE and SHAKIN’ STEVENS band member Grant Povey on keyboards.

Listening to the album, I struggled to get into my groove (a rarity and unheard of with my extensive aural catalogue of appreciation), and sadly mostly wanted to switch off before reaching the end. “We Will Rock” is the opening record and, by rights, has the stereotypical formula of 80’s AOR to be a superb intro to an album and kick things off. The lyrics are rousing, the beat is firm and steady and the guitar work from Archie is stirring. It’s an expectant ‘very of the time’ sound, but disappointingly falls flat (literally) with Michael’s vocals slightly below pitch throughout the track and the bass work from Neil are a monotonous safe bet.

“Secrets In The Dark” follows and is a pleasant cover of Chris Thompson (MANFRED MANN’S EARTH BAND) track. It pulls the album round and gave me an injection of hope that perhaps I’d just mis-interpreted the opener. It has a JOURNEY power ballad feel to it and “Hamie” from HEAVY PETTIN’ provides backing vocals that strengthen Michael’s voice and Don Airey and Grant Povey supply keyboards. The vocal harmonies work really nicely, guitar work from Archie is on-point and there’s a short-but-sweet solo from him; an all-round pleasurable listen and the highlight of the album.

“My Heart is Running In The Night” is the fourth track on “Zero Four One”. GLASGOW; my heart is breaking, this record has all the makings of a fabulous composition and all the clichés that SHOULD work, but Michael’s flat pitch really spoils it for the listener. The rhythm section is superb and really shines, but overall, the track is a damp squib. The same conclusion can be drawn with “No More Lonely Nights”, which is undoubtedly GLASGOW’s ballad on the album. The vocal key-changes are a clear struggle and on the cusp of caterwauling at times.

In bygone days, who knows, maybe GLASGOW could’ve made it big and be up there with the big boys, such as JOURNEY, BOSTON and FOREIGNER? In the here and now, I don’t feel GLASGOW is contemporary enough to reach a wider audience; their sound is stilted and a little stagnant and the distinct lack of remastering really dampens the experience of listening to “Zero Four One”. You almost get a feel that even the album title could’ve been updated to “Zero One Four One” to make it more current. The majority of the tracks sound samey and outdated and Michael’s vocals could benefit from today’s technological advances; his pitch just doesn’t quite reach, with frequently flat delivery and the vocals create dissonance within the tracks, hindering the melodic audio you hanker for.

“Zero Four One” is probably an album for fans of GLASGOW back in the day, but unlikely to hit the spot with today’s crowd. If you’d like to make your own mind up, you can get one of only 500 copies of this release available via AOR Heaven mail order only.

Songwriting: 5
Musicianship: 5
Memorability: 5
Production: 4

2 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. We Will Rock
2. Secrets In The Dark
3. Back On The Run
4. My Heart Is Running In The Night
5. Meet Me Halfway
6. Under The Lights
7. No More Lonely Nights
8. Breakout
9. Will You Be Mine
Lineup:
Michael Boyle – Vocals
Archie Dickson – Guitar
Neil Russell – Bass
Joe Kilna – Drums
Record Label: AOR Heaven
     


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Edited 29 November 2021
 

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