Tuesday, February 18, 2014

April Wine - Animal Grace

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of Animal Grace, the eleventh studio album from the Canadian rock band April Wine. As the last studio album that the group would record in the 80’s (they broke up until 1992), this 1984 release went to number 62 on the US Billboard Album chart (as part of a twelve week total chart run) and number 34 in Canada.

Side one begins with “This Could Be the Right One”. As the first single it went to number 58 on the US Billboard Hot 100. This mid-tempo rocker drives along on a steady beat and features a catchy chorus.

“Sons of the Pioneers” keeps the pace going. As with the video for the previous song, this one’s video too had a bit of space travel aspect to it.

Backed by a mid-tempo rhythm, “Without Your Love” focuses on feelings of heartbreak.

I like how “Rock Tonite” opens up; it has a slightly harder edge than the tracks the precede it. In a few ways, it reminds me a bit of Loverboy, another Canadian rock band from that time period.

Side two starts with “Hard Rock Kid”. At one point, about the 2:50 mark, there is a synth hook that reminds me of “Tom Sawyer” by Rush, another Canadian rock band.

“Money Talks” sings the working man’s blues. This is the one track on the album that was not written by lead singer/guitarist Myles Goodwyn; it was penned by the band’s bassist Steve Lang. I like the guitar grind to this one.

“Gimme That Thing Called Love” has a bit of a cosmic trip sound to its opening and first bridge.

“Too Hot to Handle” is up next. This one does not turn up the heat as much as I would have liked.

The album closes with the slinky strutting rhythm of “Last Time I’ll Ever Sing the Blues”. I think it wraps things up on a good note.

Here is another mid-80’s album that has become increasingly difficult to locate over the years. None of the usual digital download sources have it (I had to again go to YouTube to do this review); Animal Grace can be found on an import CD though, combined with another April Wine record.

I honestly cannot recall if I had ever heard any of the tracks from this one back in the 80’s, beyond the single that opens side one. Given that, it is a decent middle of the road rock album with a couple of stand-out moments.

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