LRS – Down To The Core


Review by Brian McGowan


Release Date: 21 March 2014

Inside Melodic Rock circles, this is a supergroup. Tommy (21 Guns) Laverdi, Josh (The Storm) Ramos and Michael (Von Groove) Shotton. Each of those 3 bands carved out a significant niche in the genre, but failed to survive the nineties’ seismic shift. Having long ago come to terms with the present, the trio use Down To The Core as a way to cruise through their past. An unashamed nostalgia trip, savouring the view, enjoying the moments, paying respect to a magical musical time.

They’re clearly aware of the genre’s slight resurgence and they know just what the die-hard fans want. No embracing change here, just more of the same, and if it sounds a bit like Journey, Foreigner, and several other giants of a still enduring genre, and maybe some of the bands from the trio’s individual CVs, then all the better. It’s clearly a vehicle for the unique vocal talents of Tommy Laverdi, but you have to sigh a regretful note that Michael Shotton, an incredibly versatile vocalist, doesn’t feature here as anything else but a keeper of the beat.

The songs: having gleefully thumbed through a dog eared copy of the Journey songbook, the trio neatly rejig the ‘Be Good To Yourself’ template a couple of times, working up ‘Our Love To Stay’ and particularly ‘Never Surrender’ into punchy, compact anthems, with urgent bgv’s shadowing Laverdi’s imploring vocals. But that approach can only carry you so far. A strong and unavoidable sense of sameness creeps in about halfway through. A quick check of the album’s credits reveals the answer.

None of the three are noted songwriters, consequently the bulk of the album was written and produced by formula man and label hired hand, Alessandro DelVecchio, whose one size fits all production style often flattens the dynamics, squeezing out any inherent emotions. Even these three consummate musicians find it impossible to rise above the progressively bland, sub Journey/Storm material and its anodyne production treatment as the album wears on. On the upside, it is good to hear Laverdi again. Hopefully next time will be soon, and moreso, that the material will match his abilities.

LRS – Down To The Core5 out of 10

Track Listing:

  1. Our Love To Stay
  2. Living For A Dream
  3. I Can Take You There
  4. Never Surrender
  5. Almost Over You
  6. Shadow Of A Man
  7. Universal Cry
  8. To Be Your Man
  9. Down To The Core
  10. I Will Find My Way
  11. Waiting For Love
  12. Not One Way To Give