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Some bands are playfully termed of as being Grandfathers of Rock and I guess Magnum must be one of those. Their two main stay members Bob Catley and Tony Clarkin are (as I write this review in 2012) in their mid sixties. Founded in 1972, they have seen several changes of personnel in those years and they split up for five or so years in the nineties. Another long staying member is keyboardist, Mark Stanway, a member since 1980. Their music style is rock orientated, but can vary in style from song too song. In the nineties I felt they got too commercial, but on their return from hiatus they seem to have returned to form.
I saw Magnum live several times in the eighties and nineties and actually met them back stage at Blackburn... me and a few mates kind of 'sneaked in...' ahem... but they let us in all the same. We found them to be a friendly bunch. We all got autographs and had a nice chat .Kex Goran was there too, a fine drummer who sadly died in 2007.
I recently re-discovered Magnum whilst browsing through You Tube. I came across Dragons are Real, liked it and decided to go and order this album from Amazon. It has been nice rediscovering them, and although they are not a 'great' band for me, they certainly still come up with the goods.
#The Line Up for this album:#
Tony Clarkin -- Guitar
Bob Catley -- Vocals
Al Barrow -- Bass
Mark Stanway -- Keyboards
Jimmy Copley -- Drums
1. "When We Were Younger" (7:00)
A gentle keyboard intro with fine piano by Stanway, and things gradually evolve into a passionate bridge before we are hit with the soft rock beat with drum, bass and guitar. Catley's vocal fits this song beautifully and it is full of emotion. We have a stomping chorus, one that catches hold of you straightaway and does not leave you. Towards we have a great classical guitar solo by Clarkin, truly amazing. Not overly quick, but melodic and uplifting.
2. "Eyes Wide Open" (5:54)
A chunky riff followed by searching guitar and things quieten down before we get to a nice chorus. Once again we have immense passion from the vocalist. A well put together song which my daughter found herself singing along to (and she is an Example fan - which is much different in style!). We have more a dirty guitar solo that the one on the first track.
3. "Like Brothers We Stand" (5:35)
A synth intro with a marching drum beat following and the guitars come in to join the march. Things don't really speed up here, but that is not a bad thing by any means. A nice toe-tapper, idea for an ageing rocker done with his air guitar.
4. "Out of the Shadows" (6:58)
A gritty guitar intro and then we have a stomping drum beat with a chunky guitar which brings in the vocal. Maybe bring out that air guitar here, but no headbanging...
5. "Dragons Are Real" (5:21)
A quiet beginning, slowly crashing cymbals and keyboards. A great, catchy keyboard, with fine guitar and passionate vocals. This is a fine rock song which pushes all the right buttons. Keep that air guitar out. Get a few friends around, and play it loud. Okay, the neighbours might complain, but if they do don't lend them borrow your lawn mower again.
6. "Inside Your Head" (6:01)
A piano intro and an all round gentle song. Put that air guitar away from a while and take a breather. Have a chat, drink a beer or a wine, or even a coffee.
7. "Be Strong" (5:40)
Things go a bit louder here, with the guitars turned up. We have a guitar/keyboard driven song. It's a bit weird and not one of my favourites.
8. "Thank You for the Day" (5:10)
Here we have a song which Feeder could have easily written. Slow moving, but crisp as well with some find guitar work.
9. "Your Lies" (4:34)
A quick and gritty guitar riff, followed by a guitar/keyboard ensemble. Both guide us through the song.
10. "Desperate Times" (5:22)
A bit of a filler, and quite similar to other tracks that have proceeded this album. That is the problem with albums nowadays, they have too much room for songs and towards the end things fall off a bit.
11. "You'll Never Sleep" (4:57)
I think all Magnum albums end with a quiet song, and this is no exception. Things liven up a bit from time to time, but Catley's vocals seem strange to begin with and I first did not think it was him singing. Not a great song, but not a bad song either.
Overall this is not a bad album, great to listen to in the car and reminisce on easier times.catley's voice is still strong, if not better with age, and Clarkin's guitar work in fantastic. Stanway is one of the best keyboardist.
The album was Produced and written by Tony Clarkin.
It was released in March 2007.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 When We Were Younger
2 Eyes Wide Open
3 Like Brothers We Stand
4 Out Of The Shadows
5 Dragons Are Real
6 Inside Your Head
7 Be Strong
8 Thank You For The Day
9 Your Lies
10 Desperate Times
11 You'll Never Sleep