Angel Air 2014
Fire still burning but the wildness is quenched for the ’70s pretenders’ resurrection.
Harboring a QUEEN ambition and variety, ROCOCO didn’t have the chance to deliver on their promise but are fondly remembered by those burned by their “Wildfire” single. Out before the ’80s, when this kind of music could find a new listener, the band returned to existence a quarter of the century later to open their archives and reinstate their stock. Yet once it came to recording their first-ever proper album, founding member, keyboard player Roy Shipston, decided to somewhat shift their new identity, albeit the record’s title hardly refers to that change.
Eerstwhile lushness and vigor are dissolved in the title track’s sparse mix, rendering vocalist Ian Raines’ delivery stale, but the piano-sprinkled chorus of “Manhattan Horns” can rival any of the group’s old-time songs, and the voices bear just the right dose of panache in the fusion flow of “Blue Movie Star” that firmly sets the overall urban agenda. The pipes of Chris Thompson, drummer Clive Edwards’ FILTHY McNASTY boss, carry the nocturnal weight into the “City Life” glitterball, where original bassist Steve Carman guests, yet the tinseltown effervescence is served best in the 8-minute-long “Motel Gypsy” which marries vaudeville to funk running from below “Night Drivin'” and lets celestial organ take it all to the higher level.
In this context the choice of John Lennon’s “Cold Turkey” sticks out like a hitchhiker’s sore thumb, but the strings-drenched “Baby J” sees the old ambition restored to the glorious proportions, and that’s where the terra firma is finally found. ROCOCO can still stand their own ground.