Back to the Start

1. Keep On Going
2. Two Of A Kind
3. When Baby
4. Call Me Anytime
5. So Long
6. Back To Start
7. Just One Kiss
8. Wrong Way Out
9. One Step Ahead
10. Enough Of Your Loving
11. Better Believe It
12. What More Do You Want From Me?

Keith Murrrell – vocals
Laurie Mansworth – lead guitars
Simon Dawson – drums
Dean Howard – guitars
David Boyce – bass
Toby Sadler - keyboards

Shaft of Light (1984)


Produced by Laurie Mansworth

Released 1/7-2011
Reviewed 23/6-2011


British melodic rockers or AOR performers are back with their second album called Back to the Start which follows their debut Shaft of Light which was released 27 years ago in 1984, this probably makes for one of the longest hiatus between albums ever. I can report though that it is not because the band has worked with this new album for 26 years or touring, the band disbanded in 1985 and remained disbanded until 2009 when it was the 25th anniversary of the debut album and the band performed, they were called the best opening act ever at Firefest for example and that show made them realise that they should go for it and take the music just a bit more seriously. They were quite critically acclaimed back in the day and Kerrang writer Derek Oliver for instance wrote that whoever doesn’t like Airrace ought to be shot, which sounds a bit drastic and nothing we here at Hallowed would ever write, nothing even remotely like it.

I think musically it is a bit according to the set up rules for AOR with high pitched vocals, the classical melodic guitar melodies, keyboard fills and atmospheric plays, the hypermelodic and polished production, and also the catchy choruses and vocal tracks. It is all there on this album, it has a really classic AOR sound but maybe with a slightly better production than the older bands and albums and I can count a whole legion of bands sounding somewhere near this band if I like. Here you have a few: Toto, Million, Big Life, Bad Habit, Elevener, Williams Friedstedt, Helix and the list can go forever on if I like to write it that long which I don’t. Back to the Start contains twelve tracks and it will take you about 42 minutes to play it from start to finish, a good time for an album of this kind to last.

I read some comments somewhere that this band should not make a comeback and neither should some of the other classical more or less successful bands from the past. Fair opinion but at the same time, it is right that some bands should not comeback as their music never added something but anyone saying this of Airrace, especially if they haven’t heard them, the should really think about reconsidering such a statement. Back to the Past is a really good album and I think any fan of good music should be thankful for it being made rather than complaining about their music and the business, if they don’t sell any albums it is fine by me this album will still exist and the music has been made and it is really good.

I find that I like this album quite a bit, the songs are really good and they have that great fluidity that all great AOR has, the songs flows in a smooth motion and the element interact to form great music. The vocals are great on this album and actually Classic Rock magazine had Keith Murrell as number twenty on their recent top-40 list of AOR-vocalists, and he really does have a great voice that carry the songs that extra little step that decent music needs to become good.

It all starts with a track called Keep on Going which is a great opening track and a great track overall which sets a good tone with great vocals, great melodies and a really nice prominent keyboard thing. Then I think the third track When Baby along with the fourth track Call Me Anytime are worth an extra mention, not that they really shine much more than the rest but they are tracks that takes a slightly bigger space up in your mind when thinking of this album. Still, it is not really the individual songs that are the strong point of this album, it is the complete thing, the whole of the album with its good variation and melodies all topped by a top-notch vocalist who lifts everything a little bit more. The twelve tracks just fly past and before you know it you have listened to the entire album and that is something I will keep doing from time to time now even after I have reviewed this album. I think this was a really pleasant surprise for me, a really good album that goes down easy but still holds up well for the test of time.

Anyone who doesn’t like Airrace ought to shoot him-/herself in the head!


Label: Frontier Records
Three similar bands: Big Life/Def Leppard/Bad Habit
Reviewer: Daniel Källmalm
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