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Nelson - Before The Rain

Before The Rain
by Grigoris Chronis at 13 November 2010, 5:11 PM

I never fancied the NELSON debut; neither when it was originally released back in 1990 nor now that I decided to give it an x-th chance due to their name being back in the map with the release of their brand new “Lightning Strikes Twice” CD (never listened to any of their self-financed follow-up works, sorry). OK, it probably featured a couple of passionate dynamic American Rock tracks worth your attention but the plasmatic over-polished sound plus the lack of nerve (the washed-out “(Can’t Live Without Your) Love And Affection” No.1 poppy hit single speaks for itself) were both crucial factors for avoiding to fall in love with that album’s songlist. Not yet having the chance to listen to the 2010 comeback release I initially was hit with reviewing a special album issued by Frontiers Records at the same time.

“Before The Rain” (maybe you can find out the relevance by the title alone) is a document of what the Nelson brothers – sons of iconic American singer/songwriter Ricky Nelson – worked on prior to being picked by A&R legend John Kalodner and the Geffen label. This set of recordings occurred after Matthew and Gunnar decided it was time for them to portray their songwriting skills for themselves and not for other artists/bands (Russ Ballard, Dweezil Zappa, SKID ROW and LITTLE RIVER BAND’s mainman Graham Gobel included). Originating from a family with at least three generations being involved in the music business it would not be a hard task to approve the DNA sequence, anyway.
It’s eight tracks off these recordings that made it to the “After The Rain” debut, let’s say for a start. Another one (“You’re All I Need Tonight”) was again seen in this year’s new CD while another leftover (“Runnin’ Outta Time (The Silence Is Broken)”) did in a way fit chopped in 1997’s “The Silence Is Broken” album. So…

The sound in “Before The Rain” is normal enough – do not imagine anything primitive, though – giving space an air to the songs. The comparison is more evident if you give a track-by-track synopsis in regards to the 1990 disc. The musicianship is tight and I would not expect something less to be honest. Leaving the songs that finally made it to the NELSON debut behind, there’s a total of 8-10 numbers seeing no official release since then (see the note for a couple of cuts in the previous paragraph) for which it can simply be said the AOR-meets-Pop-meets-HairRock blend the Nelson twins developed in their early years is spread all over this special tracklist. Clean voices, major chords with a little portion of more moody AOR stuff and some clear tendency for not reinventing the wheel but rather score a good time with simple melodies sum it up to this piece of NELSON history that probably has not much to offer but also nothing more or less to prove. If I had to pick a couple, I’d bet on the street energy of “Let’s Get This Show On The Road” and the Rock ‘n’ Roll spirit of “It’s Gotta Get Better”.

Not yet being familiar with this year’s “Lightning Strikes Twice” new offering, I’d propose fans of simplified American FM/semi-pop/mainstream Rock with a wider knowledge of US Rock from the 60s to the 90s can check this set of primal recordings out. Again said, many may prefer this more authentic sound/power opposed to “After The Rain”’s ultra commercial approach. Not to forget, another product entitled “Perfect Storm – After the Rain World Tour 1991” is also out via the Frontiers label, a live concert album as you can guess. Woah, it rains Matthews and Gunnars lately.

0 Star Rating

  1. After The Rain
  2. Bits And Pieces
  3. (Can’t Live Without Your) Love And Affection
  4. Will Ya Love Me
  5. You’re All I Need Tonight
  6. More Than Ever
  7. (It’s Just) Desire
  8. I Can Hardly Wait
  9. Senorita
  10. Everywhere I Go
  11. Let’s Get This Show On The Road
  12. Far Away From Home
  13. It’s Gotta Get Better
  14. I Wish
  15. That’s Love
  16. Avalon
  17. Runnin’ Outta Time (The Silence Is Broken)
  18. Love Is All We’ve Got
Matthew and Gunnar Nelson - All Instruments
Record Label: Frontiers Records


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