Founded in 1982 with a young Jason Bonham making his musical debut, the band released their debut album in 84 Shaft of Light earnt the group plenty of plaudits and high praise securing them prestigious slots on both ac/dc and queen tours but sadly by 85 the bubble had burst. Then later a 25th anniversary of the debut materialised kickstarting interest from not just myself but also the organisers of the UKs Firefest in Nottingham which I was lucky enough to witness, review, and enjoy. Follow up album Back to the Start released in 2011 saw a somewhat more modern production and a thoroughly entertaining collection of songs.
Fast forward 7 years and what have they offered us this time? Easily the best thing they have ever put their name to. I’ve played this album 3 times back to back and from the magnum sounding opener Running out of time with its simple approach and gentle piano intro through to Men from the Boys which is a stomper of a tune with me being daft enough to think that guitarist Laurie Mansworth was gonna break into a Hendrix inspired take on Voodoo Chile he seriously sounds like hes having a top drawer hissy fit!
A constant within the album is the keyboards with non more prominent than on Different but the same with a Jon Lord sounding organ and with Adam Payne turning up the vocal performance on yet another 70s sounding number. Don’t be put of by the AOR/Melodic tag that accompanies this band because Airrace are so much more with hints of Zep, Whitesnake and Jovi all thrown into the studio cooking pot and the secret recipe that is Airraces talent as song writers you get an end result like this. Slowing the album up is Lost and Wow what a lovely ballad with an unaccompanied vocal with piano as a backdrop and gentle guitar licks here and there. This surely is one of the best songs Airrace have ever released.
First single to be released is Summer rain with main man and song writer Laurie Manworth explaining that he wanted to write something uplifting and feel good happy in a world of doom and gloom and this generally is the all round picture of United Stories a feel good solid rock album. Other standout tracks include Eyes like ice, New Skin and Love is
Love. A quick heads-up to Frontier Records for giving bands like Airrace a shop window and opportunity to get their music out there. Also being released on August 10th is a limited gatefold vinyl so you know what I’ll be doing on August the 10th!
Review by Steve Bruty
- Adam Payne – vocals
- Laurie Mansworth – guitar
- Rocky Newton – bass
- Linda Kelsey Foster – keyboards
- Dhani Mansworth – drums