BERNIE SHAW & DALE COLLINS – Too Much Information

The Right Honourable 2019

URIAH HEEP warbler and his guitar-slinging compatriot finish what they started two decades earlier and venture into the future.

BERNIE SHAW & DALE COLLINS
– Too Much Information

In the 33 years of Bernie Shaw‘s fronting a British hard rock institution his voice has rarely been heard outside of the band, but on the inside the singer landed only three co-writing credits and didn’t seem willing to go beyond guest spots and parts in tributes, except for lending his pipes to the sonic experiment of MORTICE in 2003. Before that, though, there was a project which saw Bernie team up with a fellow Canadian, Dale Collins, whom he’d known from IN TRANSIT, and release a 3-song album, “Picking Locks”: “I wish we could have put more time into it,” he told this scribe half a decade down the line, expressing hope for the duo’s further development. “Too Much Information” delivers on the old promise by fleshing out their original concept and adding fresh cuts to the new versions of the EP pieces, and while the record’s pathos will not surprise anyone, its melodic layer is rather arresting.

Riding a vibrant riff, “So Many Times” may marry sharpness to mellifluous harmonies that unfold in a luxuriant way on the chorus of “Alone” to let the artists excel in passionate, dynamic balladry, yet “Sad Song” is where they soar on orchestral wings to celestial heights. Perhaps, stylistically, Shaw should have stepped out of his comfortm zone and explore a few new routes, which he doesn’t, but “Hey Jimi” allows for only so much predictability, with not a squeal to accompany lyrics that are full of Hendrix quotes and with Collins opting for exquisite acoustic lace instead when it comes to a solo before sending electric charge through the number. As the bluesy epic “Here We Go” directs the atmospheric drift towards AOR and the album’s title track offers more contemporary sound thanks to six-string symphonies, the heavy licks of “Just A Little Bit” provide a nice contrast to the overall mellow mood, as does a punchy and inspired take on David Essex’s classic, “Rock On”: that’s what Bernie and Dale thrive on. 

As for the information, there’s not too much of it there – hardly enough to satisfy fans who will want more.

****

December 27, 2019

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