Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Best Albums You Never Heard

By Kurt Torster

Cutting Crew “Broadcast” (1987)

I doubt there’s a person older than 30 that hasn’t heard the massive #1 single “(I Just) Died In Your Arms,” but for whatever reason, the massive success of the single failed to translate into album sales and I never could quite understand why. Listening now, it stands firmly as a period piece and yet is filled with enough layers and textures that almost 25 years later holds up better than most of that year’s efforts. Caught somewhere between Tears For Fears and Night Ranger, it’s a release that all at once both sums up a decade musically while having the potential to look forward and be so much more.

Produced to absolute perfection by a team more associated with the harder rock of Rush or Tesla (Steve Thompson, Terry Brown, John Jansen and Michael Barbiero), it really is one of the best sonically sounding discs from the era. From the chiming arena rockers “One For The Mockingbird” and “Don’t Look Back” to the more subdued balladry of “I’ve Been In Love Before” and the soaring “Sahara”, this should and would have appealed more to the “90125”-era Yes/Journey/Genesis crowd rather than the end of the new wave romantics they seemingly were promoted to. I can only imagine that a lack of touring combined with Virgin’s inability to see beyond a quick hit single did them in.

The band followed this release up with two more albums that sank with little fanfare. Though co-founder guitarist Kevin MacMichael went on to play with Robert Plant, he sadly passed away in 2002. In 2006, vocalist Nick Van Eade gave the band another try with the release of “Grinning Souls,” and had limited success touring the nostalgia circuit. Whether there’s another Cutting Crew release or tour in the future is anyone’s guess.