Cutting Crew - Add to Favorites

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Cutting Crew
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InLikeFlynn Records
Damn, it must suck to be Cutting Crew. While the band became immensely popular, in 1986, with their international hit “(I Just) Died in Your Arms” from their debut album “Broadcast”, this is probably all the exposure most people will have to them. The band fell in between soft rock/AOR and new wave, never managing to capitalize on that early success or keeping a steady following. Record company politics didn’t help either and by the second album “The Scattering”, the band members were bulking out, leaving the core duo of Nick Van Eede (guitar/vocals) and Kevin MacMichael (lead guitar) to complete the third album “Compus Mentus”, which went largely unnoticed prompting the disgruntled duo to disband the very next year after its release.
Unfortunately MacMichael died in 2002, following a bout with lung cancer, so any possibility of reuniting the two, or even the original band, was laid to rest along with that. Van Eede, on the other hand, released a solo album in 2005, entitled “Grinning Souls” which he later, made “canonical” by re-releasing it under the Cutting Crew moniker with the then band that was supporting him, becoming the new “Cutting Crew”. It also went largely unnoticed, by the public. Still unwilling to throw the towel, Van Eede returns some ten years later with a fifth album.
Definitely more laid back, slightly less poppy and more rootsy, it takes pages from several genre playbooks, there’s a bit of pop/rock, a bit of gospel, jazz and big band… making it sound like what Van Morrison was doing, or a far more commercial Waterboys. What is nice, is the consistence in performance and the evident artistry, because if someone is to get frank and to the point, one would say that there isn’t a strong enough “single” in the album. Despite that the rather upbeat “Till the Money Run$ Out” is the closest thing to a single, you could hope for, there is a decent number of nice songs on the album, that make it a really joyful listening experience, like the funky “Looking for a Friend”, the “poppy” “Biggest Mistake of My Life” or the tender “She Just Happened to Be (Beautiful)” and even the deeper more introspective tracks like “Berlin in Winter” that balances bravely between melancholy and a defiant triumphant rock guitar lick that ignites its glorious chorus, real “gems” among the other songs in the album and in the band’s catalog.
Would I recommend this to the average joe, who’s probably only bought/heard only “that” single? Maybe, maybe not. Good tunes, know no date, so I consider this to be one of the more honest and naked albums the band has done… closer to the heart. That’s what counts.