THE BEATERSBAND – Vol. Tre

Italian punk ‘n’ roll outfit Beatersband began cranking out good time sounds in 2018. Although they spent a couple of their early years hampered by a pandemic lockdown in terms of reaching live audiences, they more than made up for that with a prolific output. By the end of 2022, their comprises three albums, several singles and a brilliant cassette (‘Un Tuffo Nel Passatto’) which supplies the ultimate crash course in their work to date.

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RONNIE ROMERO – Raised On Heavy Radio

For his first solo album, Chilean vocalist Ronnie Romero took the easy route and put together a covers album. To be fair, it’s not like he had anything to prove; in the year before its recording, he’d already recorded well-received albums with both Lords of Black and The Ferrymen. He wasn’t about to spend much time coasting along recycling other peoples’ classic rock works either, since he then released an album with his other band Sunstorm, which hit the shelves barely four months later.

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ARCTIC RAIN – Unity

On their debut album (2020’s ‘The One’), Arctic Rain largely specialised in classic sounding melodic rock, but weren’t afraid to temper a big chorus with a slightly harder edge on occasion. That record presented a selection of very 80s sounding songs in tandem with some great guitar work, and as such, provided a huge amount of entertainment for lovers of bands like Alien, Last Autumn’s Dream and Miss Behaviour.

Their second LP, ‘Unity’, is a worthy follow up to a great debut, even though it sometimes takes a very different approach. Despite a heavier sound in places, the big choruses retain the same melodic charm as before, and on at least half of the songs, there are still some very broad melodies shining through. This is a record that fans will still enjoy, but it is also the kind of record that shows the band pushing forward.

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THE PROG COLLECTIVE – Seeking Peace

Formed in 2012, The Prog Collective purports to be the world’s biggest prog rock supergroup. The idea of “supergroup” suggests musicians taking a permanent role; for this band, the reality is somewhat different. Yes, there are a lot of different musicians involved, but many of the famous faces signed up for the Collective only ever play on one or two tracks each. In that respect, as has previously been pointed out, this is just another vehicle for the multi-talented Billy Sherwood to present material that doesn’t necessarily fit his day job as Yes bassist/arranger. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, of course – the likelihood of Steve Hillage, Richard Page and Dweezil Zappa ever being invited to a Yes recording session is less than zero, so Sherwood’s extra-curricular project is more than valid.

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VARIOUS ARTISTS – What A Groovy Day: The British Sunshine Pop Sound 1967-72

Over the years, Cherry Red Records and their vast array of subsidiary labels have been responsible for releasing some great box sets centring around 60s and 70s material, but ‘What A Groovy Day: The British Sunshine Pop Sound 1967-72’ is potentially one of their most quirky. By throwing a light on an era when single releases were still considered important, it guarantees a great listen full of pop laden treats. but It also provides an easy opportunity to rediscover various oft-forgotten or unknown three minute nuggets when digging deeply into the archives. As always, by mixing the cult with lesser known tunes by familiar faces, it’s the kind of Cherry Red release that should appeal to a broad spectrum of retro pop fans.

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