Reviewed by Bruce Dennill
23 seonds into ‘Inneractive’ and we’re back in the ‘80s, when MOR titans like Bruce Hornsby, Toto and Hall And Oates ruled the charts. Cue Korg (or similar-sounding) keyboards way up in the mix, augmented by the occasional sax break or epic guitar solo and simple, no-nonsense lyrics that tell their story and then get off the stage. For a while, this is no bad thing – consider the power of Hornsby’s “The Way It Is” or the various hits the Doobie Brothers enjoyed throughout the decade – but the length of this album forces the bounds of nostalgia. No fewer than eight of the 11 songs here exceed five minutes in duration, and the remainder aren’t far off. This lack of brevity will mean that most casual listeners will struggle to stay interested until the end but, if you break the album up into sections, it’s considerably easier – and more rewarding – to digest. “Fullness Of Joy”, once you’re past the fiddly intro (featuring a high-hat that sounds like someone hissing), settles into a pleasantly funky groove before “Take This Wounded Heart” echoes Christian pomp-rockers White Heart. “Walking Out Freedom” is hilariously close to David Lee Roth-era Van Halen, while “Spirit Dance” is, quite possibly, a believer’s reworking of a Hall And Oates B-side. Tight jeans and mullets for this section, then. The violin in “Beyond These Walls” is an interesting touch, but this edge is lost as most of the rest of the collection wanders into territory already explored, claimed and exploited by, among others, Noel Richards (who has actually recorded a version of one of Bailey’s songs). Closer “I Find Joy” is a class above most of the rest, but by then it’s too little, too late.
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