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Coming off a more rock and guitar oriented "Straight Between the Eyes" the members of Rainbow came just one year later with the final record with Joe Lynn Turner and yet again a change behind the drum kit as Chuck Burgi replaced Bobby Rondinelli. This album features another change in style with more inclusion of the keyboard and guitar working together at the same time during the verses unlike the albums before. While a bit weaker than the previous, it is still a very capable record.
With the use of more keyboard, at times this record grows a bit stale and could have just used more guitar during some songs. On the opening track "Stranded", Ritchie and Dave Rosenthal work the notes and flows wonderfully and then near the end of the song Ritchie takes over with a cool stop-and-go riffing which is awesome. There are other times though, were things just sound too much of the same. "Fool For the Night" and "Make Your Move" are virtually interchangeable and are just about the same with little to no variation.
Some songs on here are great classics however. While "Can't Let You Go" is very commercial and poppy, the operatic keyboard intro and powerful chorus is truly something to behold. "Fire Dance" is a song that fits the mold of the Dio-era tunes and features some great back and forth blazing soloing between the Ritchie and Rosenthal. "Street of Dreams" has like a vibrating keyboard and the sound is very original and has a nice melodic solo from Ritchie and great vocal performance from Joe Lynn Turner.
Two instrumentals are also on this album. See Ritchie doing instrumentals is exciting, but unfortunately they are not really that good. "Anybody There" is just Ritchie doing a slow paced guitar job which while a little bit interesting, it is just too short. That one can be tolerated, but I cannot say the same for "Snowman." The electric and strange sounding drums totally detract everything from this. I do not know why they were trying to experiment with this, but all I know is that it is just terrible.
As was kind of alluded to before, the vocals again on this album are superb. Joe Lynn Turner really found his niche with the band and his melodic, somewhat gruff vocals fit the music greatly. He puts on stunning performances on "Can't Let You Go" by hitting the high note in the chorus and delivers a fine paced vocal line in "Stranded" and does an impressive job changing his pitch and delivery in "Desperate Heart" with his voice carrying on the verse and then kicking it into high gear in the chorus.
New drummer Chuck Burgi does a good job on the album as well. He does nothing spectacular, but he keeps the beat going, especially on "Desperate Heart." Roger Glover again brings a great performance on the bass and has a real neat bass line in "Stranded."
As this record was released, Ritchie had found the end of the rainbow so it seemed as he reunited with the classic Deep Purple line-up. This album is worth owning as it has some great tunes and fans will not be really turned off by it. Every musician has a slick performance on this album and is something to be enjoyed from the more commercial and radio friendly Rainbow.
Excellent last studio release until “Stranger In Us All”, twelve years later. This album features an eficient and profesional line-up, with Chuck Burgi, instead of Rondinelli, David Rosenthal on keyboards, Joe Lynn Turner still on vocals and Glover and Blackmore. Ritchie has always been accompanied by great musicians, there is no doubt, and the band of “Bent Out Of Shape” is unquestionably great.
The album’s sound can’t be compared with the Dio era metal masterpieces (of course), but it’s probably a return to the “Difficult To Cure” more influenced, a bit, by the NWOBHM sound (that also benefited the Purple family bands, including Whitesnake and Gillan). Tracks like “Street Of Dreams”, “Desperate Heart” or “Can’t Let You Go” show the melodic sound Rainbow used to play in the Turner era, but although those songs are good and deserve to be included in every band’s compilation, there are some others that really show a more metal sound. I mean “Fool For The Night”, “Drinking With The Devil” (a very underrated song which I really like) or “Fire Dance”. Those songs have got speed, power and show an aggressive sound that only few tracks of the precedent album have. Also I highlight the instrumental “Anybody There”, a piece that reminds me of Malmsteen and company stuff. “Snowman”, in my opinion, is the only one that fails on “Bent Out Of Shape”, specially because those electrical drums, but it’s not really bad at all. “Make Your Move” and “Stranded” also sound awesome, but unfortunately, Blackmore seems to forget this album’s stuff.
In conclusion, this is probably the best Turner era Rainbow album and I think a band fan must have it because on it, they went back to the metal they forgot a bit on “Straight Between The Eyes” and also the production is better. So I don’t think nobody would feel deceived after listening to this great release.
So I was at a used cd store recently, and I picked up this little number for I had an mp3 of "Street Of Dreams" and thought it was great. Now I also own Down To Earth, but this was my first JLT era rainbow album. Let me tell you something, THIS ROCKS. Totally inspired songwriting from Blackmore, and some of the best singing I've ever heard. "Stranded" is an excellent opener that would be a nice concert rocker, but from there the cd just rips. "Can't Let You Go" just ranks right up there with the BEST Rainbow ballads, Joe Lynn Turner is amazing. The rocking continues with Fool For The Night and the stunningly metallic fire dance. Desperate Heart though seems too streamlined and commercial, and not all rocking. Street of Dreams saves the day and is very memorable.
Compound all this with an excellent instrumental and fast rocking closer and you've got one great hard rock album. Its not Dio, but god damnit, it works.