Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Review: Bobby Kimball and Jimi Jamison “Kimball Jamison”

Melodic rock/AOR
The teaming up of Bobby Kimball (Toto) and Jimi Jamison (Survivor) promises to be one of the most discussed alliances in the AOR world. Their debut record, simply entitled “Kimball Jamison” comes out on Frontier Records October 18.

Fans expecting the classic 80s AOR sound epitomized by their home bands are going to be in for a surprise. The big melodic choruses and lyrical content have been conserved, but the music has been catapulted into the modern age. The guitars sound fresh and gritty, constituting some of the hardest edge rock either of these guys has ever been associated with in the past. In my opinion, the results are fantastic and give this project a unique identity to call its own, rather than a strict mash up of the styles of Toto and Survivor.

Of course we are dealing with two titans in the vocal arena – Kimball and Jamison sound absolutely amazing, and take turns at lyrical lines in nearly every song making it a true 50/50 split of talent. Even better, most of song were written to contain a few sweet spots where Kimball or Jamison can really hold that high note and shine. For this we can thank ace songwriters such as Richard Page (Mr Mister), Jim Peterik (Survivor), Randy Goodrum (Steve Perry, Toto), John Waite, Erik Martensson (W.E.T.) and Robert Sall (Work of Art).

The guys come out with both guns blazing on “Worth Fighting For”, where loud guitars enhanced by keyboards drive a thundering song that wonders about whether we found that special someone (a sequel to “Is This Love”, perhaps?). Followed by the aggressive “Can’t Wait For Love” (video below), we have a superb introduction to what Kimball Jamison is all about. This is the kind of song I bet Survivor fans were hoping for on their last album “Reach”. Fans of either singer should be smiling ear to ear by now, but there are more gems to follow. While each song has its moments, the ones that really stand out for me include the mid-tempo treat laced with great backing vocals, “I Did Everything Wrong”, “We Gotta Believe”, and the majestic power ballad “Find Another Way”. But perhaps the best here is the encouragement anthem “Get Back In The Game” – this splendid rocker should find a home on the “Rocky VII” soundtrack.

I hope this is not a one-off record. The chemistry between Kimball and Jamison, coupled with their instincts for potent melodies and their sheer vocal power, makes the pair an unbeatable melodic rock dream team.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10

Sites for: Bobby Kimball and Jimi Jamison

Check out the video “Can’t Wait For Love”