CD REVIEW: Air Supply - The Singer And The Song
By Kevin Zarnett - 02/03/2006 - 07:13 PM EST
Artist: Band: Air Supply
Album: The Singer And The Song
That Australian duo Russell Hitchcock & Graham Russell of Air Supply have been making music for 30 years, probably wouldn't surprise many who remember their run of soft-pop hits in the 1980's. How they choose to celebrate their 30 year anniversary might raise a few eyebrows. Known for their excessively sweet songs and lush arrangements, which helped define the "light" listening radio format, The Singer and the Song offers Hitchcock & Russell stripped bare of their trademark big production, as two voices and one acoustic guitar.
Originally available exclusively to fan club members, and now available to the general public, the twelve-song CD was a spontaneous endeavor, recorded in a single afternoon, each tune done in one take with no overdubs. The approach does succeed in shifting the focus directly on the voices and the songs. The spare production and mix leave the vocals with nowhere to hide, and the results are fairly striking. Swapping lead vocals and harmonies throughout, the two voices blend expertly (notably on "Lost in Love" and "Sweet Dreams"), showing no age from their heyday, with Hitchcock demonstrating his voice as powerful instrument on a number of songs ("All Out Of Love", "Making Love Out of Nothing At All", "The One That You Love" and "Here I Am").
Guitarist Graham Russell's playing is fairly basic here, though he does go beyond simple strumming, but the material isnít want for its lack of instrumental flourishes. This is reinforced by the bonus track, a second look at ďAll Out of LoveĒ, with additional vocals by the Celtic Tenors and a full band arrangement to support it. By dolling up this final track, they illustrate why the good moments on the rest of the disc, are vastly superior to this type of treatment.
As for the songs, Air Supply has never established much range in their subject matter; these are love songs, romantic, apologetic, regretful - half the song titles actually have "love" in their name. If you are looking for words you can sink your teeth into, you won't find them here ("I am yours, truly yours, because, because, because" or "I can't help that I'm talking loud/because I'm on a cloud"). However, the melodies of these songs are undeniably rich and appealing, only on a couple of occasions weighed down by being lightweight. The raw treatment of The Singer and the Song reveals the strength of these songs in a way their original recordings don't allow.
Fans of Jim Steinman might appreciate his songwriting contribution, "Making Love Out of Nothing At All", offering up the CD's most interesting lyrical moments ("Every time I see you all the rays of the sun are all streaming through the waves in your hair/And every star in the sky is taking aim at your eyes like a spotlight" and "The beating of my heart is a drum and it's lost and it's looking for a rhythm like you/You can take the darkness from the pit of the night and turn it to a beacon burning endlessly bright").
The Singer and the Song package also includes a DVD, capturing four of the afternoons performances, with interviews interspersed between each song - all in HD.
For more information on Air Supply visit: www.airsupplymusic.com
To purchase "The Singer and the Song" visit CD Baby or Music Today
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