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GTR - GTR CD (album) cover




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2.27 | 120 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars A cruel deception

The band's name is of course a common abbreviation for "guitar". This is intended reflect the fact that this "supergroup" includes two of prog's most accomplished guitarists, Steve Hackett and Steve Howe. The line up is completed by relatively unknown musicians, although the album is produced by Howe's Asia band-mate Geoff Downes.

For one reason or another, GTR did not last long, and on the strength of this offering it's probably just as well. The conversation between Howe and Hackett must have gone something like this: "Fancy making an album together?" "Sure, with our histories including some of the finest progressive rock songs ever made, together we could make some further classics". "Actually, I made a lot of money with Asia, a pop rock band" "Well come to think of it, I missed out big time when I left Genesis prior to their transition to a pop band" "Stuff the prog then, let's make some big selling pop" "Agreed!".

The opening chords of track 1, "When the heart rules the mind" instantly reveal that this is no meeting of the prog giants. Max Bacon's vocals, the catchy melody and the sing-a-long chorus are much more reminiscent of REO SPEEDWAGON or FOREIGNER than Yes or Genesis in their heyday. Producer Geoff Downes does not actually play on the album, but his compostion "The hunter", is to be found here. Tellingly the song, a slightly slower power ballad, was also recorded by Asia. Add a Bob Catley like voice and you would instantly have a standard Magnum song.

It is the two Steve's though who must take responsibility for the pop nature of the songs, since they are jointly or severally involved in all the other tracks. The obvious problem is that neither is particularly good at writing pop songs, resulting in a procession of second rate soulless efforts. No matter how competent the performances and how good the production (and both are faultless), the foundations here are laid on quicksand of the most lethal kind.

Each guitarist is afforded a brief solo guitar spot, which only serves to remind us how cruelly we have been deceived. The only track which caught my attention at all was "Toe the line", which appealed to my weakness for a melodic ballad. The song has powerful instrumentation, which becomes almost symphonic at times. Bacon's vocal performance here is also of a different calibre. Sadly that's it though, and after Hackett's solo spot, we close with a very poor pop rock song. "Imagining".

A wasted opportunity of the highest order.

Easy Livin | 2/5 |


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