8-IS - 2011 - Frame Of Us
1. Everlasting Love
2. I'll Be There
4. The Final Curtain
5. Fallin' In Your Eyes
6. On And On
7. If You Turn Around
8. In My Life
9. Back To You
10. Tomorrow Comes Tonite
8-IS (read Eighties) hails from Rome, Italy, formed by drummer Franco Casini and guitarist Lorenzo Milone.
After the first listen to their debut album Frame Of Us, it is obvious that both have listened and learned very well from the entire catalogue of bands like Survivor, Journey and such, but they also remind me a lot of the early 90's British AOR scene, bands like Walk The Wire, Atlantic, ...
The band is blessed with a very good lead singer, Marcello Catalano, who can switch between higher and lower notes easily, and together with guest bassist Andrea Casali and keyboard player Emanuele Casali they round a great combo.
Frame Of Us is a splendid album of pure AOR, with the hooks, keys and melodic guitar work all in place, spread out over the 10 songs.
Opener "Everlasting Love" is a great up-tempo AOR rocker that sounds perfect. This song grabs you instantly and gets your attention with its awesome chorus.
Following track "I’ll Be There" is a beautiful picture-perfect AOR ballad. This is one of the finest pure AOR ballads I have heard in a very long time.
"Lady" is the obligatory mid-tempo tune, a great AOR gem that somehow reminds me the German band Statement or the Spanish Golden Farm.
"The Final Courtain" is next, also a semi-slow track, but a little more epic, yet with lovely melodies in the catchy haunting chorus, another terrific tune, with a lot of similarities to Atlantic.
Then the band adds some 80's West Coast-AOR in the slightly poppier "Fallin’ In Your Eyes", which once again is blessed with lovely classic melodies, reminding here a bit of Toto.
Late 80's style comes alive in the semi-AOR ballad "On And On" that sounds better than anything!
The cd continues with "If You Turn Around", a warm melody that takes some time to build up, but towards the end we’re getting close to AOR heaven!
"In My Life" starts quite promising with a great catchy hook, but the na-na-na part of the chorus spoils it a bit.
Happily, the last 2 tracks are quite good again, the calmer slightly bluesy/soulful "Back To You" that has a touch of mid 90's era of AOR, and as closing track the piano ballad "Tomorrow Comes Tonite" shows the band’s lead singer at his very best, which is quite emotional and basically being a perfect AOR singer of whom we will hopefully hear much more in the near future.
Frame Of Us is a truly impressive album of pure AOR/West Coast music and after repeated listens I can guarantee you it belongs to the selected league of the finest releases in recent years.
This album was published last year with a different cover art but it wasn't properly released/distributed 'til 2011.
8-IS is classy AOR, very, very well done and is equal in quality to for example Houston, H.E.A.T and other of that sorts.
The album sounds amazing thanks to a fantastic sound/production (mastered at the famous Sterling Sound in New York) and also the excellent musicianship & songwriting.
A MUST HAVE - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Marcello Catalano - Vocals
Emanuele Casali - Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Lorenzo Milone - Guitars, Backing Vocals
Andrea Casali - Bass, Backing Vocals
Franco Casini - Drums
Last Updated (Saturday, 02 April 2011 10:50)