|The amazing art of Ed Unitsky adorns the sleeve for the new Ivory Tower Project album "How Much More?"|
There's an eighties flavour here with dance orientated mixes of five tracks from "Red Hot" including a phenomenal funky remix of "Burning" alongside nine new wonderfully crafted guitar driven songs, the majority of which are highly impressive rockers with a sprinkling of ballads plus the sublime instrumental "Surf Song" (see video below) and the rather funky "Woman Of The Times". At times you are listening to a reinvention of classic American rock before being taken on a journey back to the days of extended 12" remixes or an adventure through inspired guitar solos that shout out "Prog Rock!". Yet what has endeared me to this record is the way it combines those qualities under the umbrella of what is essentially a soft rock MOR album with added complexities crammed into almost seventy minutes.
"... an album ... that is a credit to their talent and creativity."
Highlights for me include the epic title track and opener "How Much More?" (replete with almost the last lyrics written by Jace before his passing in 2003), the anthemic "When Friends Become Lovers" (another example of Tony Novarro's excellent guitar licks), "Please Tell Me" (a showcase for Mark Regula's smooth, soulful vocals), the immensely likeable "Woman Of The Times" and (of course) "Surf Song" - a retro sixties instrumental yielding yet another musical surprise. "How Much More?" is a confirmation that the journey that Ivory Tower Project had made through multiple personal tragedies has been worth it. Both Mark Regula and Tony Novarro have put together an album to not only justify their faith in the project but also something that is a credit to their talent and creativity. "How Much More?" by Ivory Tower Project is released worldwide on Tuesday 6th June. A pleasure to listen to and review. (9/10)
Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 05-June-2017