Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog) (last update 5/23/2017)

September 16, 2011

Roger Taylor ~ Electric Fire

(Click on heading to visit official Queen website.)
Style: hard rock, British
Label: EMI
Year: 1998
Home: England

Members: Roger Taylor ~ vocals/bass/drums/keyboards/programming
Keith Airey ~ guitar
Steve Barnacle ~ bass
Mike Crossley ~ keyboards
Keith Prior ~ drums
Jonathan Perkins ~ keyboards/b. vocals

Largely forgotten except by fans Queen drummer Roger Taylor once had a band called Cross. The idea that he had a band outside of Queen is more interesting than the band itself which became so popular that by its second albums distribution stopped in America while their third & final album was released in Germany only. Ironically, its on that final Cross outing that Taylor dumped the stiff electronic drums, got a co-lyricist & actually put out a good hard rock album ... for those that can find it. RT's later solo albums, whose probably come to realize that a solo career really isn't in the cards for him as it was for his bandmates Freddie Mercury & Brian May, may still be better as an idea & for fans only, but they're a major improvement over Cross & for a variety of reasons everything Cross should have & could have been. Cross wanted to be a hard rock band but ended up with weak Queen-like musical landscapes that stretch across the musical boundaries. Fans were confused & uninterested & RT's weak lyrics aiming for Bono-esque save the world advice didn't help matters. But, as a solo artist, RT isn't advertising himself as anything but RT & thus his solo work can cross as many boundaries as it wants & fans go away interested & happy & one hopes so does he. It's often a toss-up of which of the four solo albums works the best as each climb & fall to equal measures, but the fourth & so far final Electric Fire often comes out on top for no other reason than it has some of the most memorable songs. It's more soft rock than one might expect, though the songs are slow but not necessarily ballady or preachy, & it doesn't do away with the electronica that RT seems strongly attracted to, but yet for the 1990's it doesn't seem out of place either. It might be underground avant-garde alt rock if it wasn't so sleek. It's a literal soup of rock & electronica. Think Bill Laswell for lack of a better reference. For example, RT's cover of John Lennon's "Working Class Hero" is a soupy electronic affair with guitar solos lost under clouds of echo while "Believe In Yourself" is a piano heavy rocker where the electronica is more in the stereo vocal effects. Actually, "Believe In Yourself" has a very later era Beatles feeling, right down to the sparse guitar solo, that could stand alongside side "The Inner Light" & nobody would blink. The hypnotic wash that George Harrison was aiming for in that song is the same kind of musical wash that RT is trying to create with Electric Fire. He is really treating the music as a fire that's sometimes blazing & sometimes timid. The rest of the album follows suit going back & forth with different musical elements with surprise. It's an experiment more than a cohesive album at times but ends up being a fun experiment worth checking out. As for sounding like Queen? You won't have a clue this guy played some of the best & most under-rated rock drums out there for one of the greatest bands.

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