If Only
No Bed of Roses

1. Loaded Gun
2. Tumblin' Dice
3. If Love Could Last Forever
4. I'm No Angel
5. No Bed Of Roses
6. Easy Lay
7. Rock And A Hard Place
8. Red Hot Heaven
9. Ghost of You
10. Forever My Love
11. Long Way From Home
12. Man Against The World
13. All Over
14. Stand Like A Stone
15. Don't Let Go
16. Shotdown
17. Tight Jeans (live)

Tina Egan (Lead vocals on 1 – 12, 17)
Ian Edwards (Bass, keyboards)
Greg Hart (Guitars, acoustic 6 & 12 string guitars, mandolin, keyboards)
Nobby Styles (Guitars)
Judit Armstrong (Keyboards)
Andy Elphick (Drums, percussion)
Jackie Bodimead (Lead vocals on tracks 13–16 & backing vocals)

No Bed of Roses (1992)

Geoff Downes (Piano, Hammond, keyboards & backing vocals)
Toby Sadler (keyboards & backing vocals)
Mike Moran (keyboards & string arrangements on 12)
Martin Chaisson (Lead guitars, voicebox)

Produced by Geoff Downes and Ian Caple

Released 10/6-2011
Reviewed 12/7-2011

avenue of allies

If you ask me why anyone would think it's a good idea to fill a re-released album with over 78 minutes of music where 21 of those are bonus material ( which means the album is long already from the start), I would ask them if they've gone mad. I mean, we're not talking about a live album or a best-of or anything else particularly special but a completely normal full length album that's been re-released and now packed to the limited 80 minutes with five bonus tracks, making it 17 in total, and one hour and 18 minutes plus with Music. The album was originally released in 1992 and hence celebrates 20 years anniversary next year. However, ready in good time the choice of releasing it one year early was made and also to pack it up with bonus material that made the already long album last forever was two poor choices that didn't help the re-release of this album.

According to most people with opinions on music around the web, If Only is an AOR-band. According to me, though, they play hard rock in the same vein as Bon Jovi and Guns 'n' Roses did back in those days. The beginning of this album sounds like it could have been sampled from a random cheap and worthless western film. After this the album continues in best Four Non Blondes-spirit with songs about love if you're white thrash and think the definition of love is to give a 40 years older drunken hobo with facial hair and no hair on the head a blowjob behind the local pub between the stinking trash cans filled with dead babies. Most reviews I've seen on this album seems to agree about it being a pretty good album so I guess I'm the exception. Because I'm moderately impressed by this. I didn't like the original version and I can't say I like this even longer version better. In fact, I dislike it more because of the length. It's remixed and so to sound fresher but it's just as dated as it were when it was released and I feel sick just thinking of the playing time. I have yet to take myself through the album in one turn from it begins til it ends without stopping for a break anywhere.

Honestly I have a hard time seeing why they've bothered with the re-release of this album and for once I actually agree with another reviewer as I saw another guy asking this very same question: why re-release and an album that never was successful in the first place? And why should we care for this album as it was aged already when it was released? It's not like it has become better by the years, like some wines (or a professor in music), it's just an album like any that was forgotten the moment it was released. Had it been a 20 year anniversary I would have had more understanding. Or if it had been successful, like 'Slippery When Wet' or 'New Jersey' by Bon Jovi or 'Appetite for Destruction' by Guns 'n' Roses. But it was dated when it was released, it didn't sell well, it wasn't received well and I've never heard anyone mention them as inspirations to the generation of musicians that came after. So why do we give this album a new chance? And also press bonus material in to the whole thing until it almost explode? It could have worked, if they'd chose to put the bonus material on a second disc, where they could have put a video, pictures or something as well. But not like this. Now it's mostly annoying and a pain in the ass to sit through.

Anyway… to the music, which is a dirtier kind of heavy metal or hard rock with a female vocalist, from the category of "women that isn't singing beautiful". Tina Egan sounds to me pretty much like a whiskey infected Doro Pesch, suffering from the flu. She isn't singing either beautiful or pretty but with a nice touch of emotion, all though I can't say that is too seductive either. The material is decent, but nothing special, and the long playing time takes down the overall impression by miles. The material just isn't good enough or varied enough to maintain the interest throughout the long road we have to go to get to the end. And when we also have to take ourselves through 35% more of that, my patience is running away like a cat chased by the police. Eight songs and about 40 minutes would have worked, I'm pretty sure of that, but twelve songs? SEVENTEEN songs? And 60 minutes?! No, make that 78 minutes!! Come on! It will be the long term parking for this album in the record shelf if it ever were to find its way there in the first place.

'No Bed of Roses' became If Only's only official full length release and frankly, it wouldn't have bothered me if that would have been the end of it. If only it had been a 20 year anniversary or some other kind of anniversary album, it could have worked, but just re-releasing it after 19 years and put over 20 minutes of bonus crap on an album we wasn't even impressed by from the beginning? Why bother? Thanks for the re-release… but no thanks.


Label: Avenue of Allies/Connecting Music
Three similar bands: Four Non Blondes/Guns 'n' Roses/Bon Jovi
Reviewer: Caj Källmalm
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