Sign, The - Signs Of Life

Year of Release: 2000
Label: Frontiers
Catalog Number: FR CD 042
Format: CD
Total Time: 59:43:00

Dear reader, let us get acquainted quickly by skipping all preliminary nothings and cutting right to the matter: I'm not into AOR. Never have been, never will be. You can scan through my personal record collection and no matter how hard you try, you won't find a single one pertaining to that music genre*. In fact, the only time I ever bought one on an explorative whim, the record being one by Drive She Said (the fact that Mark Mangold is an elemental part of that and The Sign being pure coincidence), it lasted one go on my CD player. And I'm a patient guy. That record now serves its true purpose as a Frisbee and is probably much happier due to it. At least I am. So judging by the grade I'm giving Signs Of Life, you can bet this is your AOR wet dream come true.

Because regardless of my personal opinion that the lyrics are nothing else than dumb macho sentimental mush, that a couple of tracks on the record are ridiculously embarrassing, and that much of it sounds like so many other songs that seemingly light years ago ruled the airwaves, Signs Of Life is all that AOR has ever aspired to be and certainly a worthy effort for this supergroup of sorts. Big gushy choruses with an epic pop edge, flawless vocal harmonies, the kind of catchy melodies that take about one split second to be memorized, relatively involved arrangements, and the four-letter word splattered all over the place. No, not that one, this one: love. [Ah, I thought you meant "baby" - ed.] There's nothing new about the formula, true, but it is followed down to the very last absorbing detail here and thus brought to its maximum threshold of aural enjoyment.

The threshold shining particularly on the two tracks that veer slightly away from their companions and trudge instead a territory more aptly described as accessible progressive metal with a strong memory imprint of The Sign's principal musical avenue, the aforementioned tracks being the opener "I'm Alive" and the excellent "Stranded." A real shame that the approach wasn't further explored with the exception of "Signs Of Life," as that is when The Sign sounds more like an actual band with solid rapport, vital synergy, and a visceral singer than a bunch of studio musicians hired to cut yet another catchy love song in the rock or pop ballad format.

Still, there is no way of denying the fact that these musicians have every single trick expected from them up their sleeves, that they are the unquestioned masters of their craft, and that everyone with a soft spot for AOR (among which I don't find myself) will be inevitably conquered by Signs Of Life. The record is built exactly according to specifications, and it's just waiting to be heard by those interested in its harmless collection of radio-friendly choruses and big vocal harmonies. If you are one of the interested, do yourself a favor. Don't pass up on this one.

*except for albums that also fall under the glam metal category, a.k.a. Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, etc.

Similar artists: Journey, Zebra, Survivor

[While I didn't notice nor note it at the time we first published this, you'll notice some familiar names in the line up, namely Kansas bassist Billy Greer and Blue Oyster Cult drummer Bobby Rondinelli -ed. 1/2010]

I'm Alive (7:17) / Crossed The Line (4:44) / Aryon (5:47) / Forever Again (5:06) / Stranded (3:44) / All Your Life (4:28) / The Wait (4:28) / I Will Be There For You (4:33) / Nothing But A Heartache (5:37) / Wine (4:01) / Desperate Heart (4:08) / Signs Of Life (5:17)

Terry Brock - vocals, guitars
Randy Jackson - guitars, vocals, mandolin
Mark Mangold - keyboards
Billy Greer - bass
Bobby Rondinelli - drums

Signs Of Life (2000)

Genre: Melodic Rock/AOR

Origin US

Added: July 16th 2002
Reviewer: Marcelo Silveyra
Artist website:
Hits: 513
Language: english


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