TODD HOBIN - KEEPIN' THE DREAM ALIVE (1982/ARIES RECORDS/USA)
Singer/songwriter/guitarist TODD HOBIN out of New York City released a lot of albums, but 'Keepin' the dream alive' is probably his finest release. It dates back to 1982, when AOR/Radiorock/Poprock were the styles being aired all the time on the US radiostations. This album fits perfectly in this 1982 kinda style, with many keys, catchy hooks and memorable choruses, sounding a lot like early 80s RICK SPRINGFIELD. It's a pity opener "Keepin' the dream alive" starts with a saxsolo, because the song itself is classy early 80s AOR/Pomprock with a very strong chorus. Although this album is not a must-have for the AOR fans, I can easily inform you to pick it up when you see it somewhere, because there are some great songs on the album.
Side-A features some lovely pure early 80s AOR/Radiorockers, such as "Lost without you love" and "How do I kiss you?", songs with fantastic hooks, choruses, lead and harmonyvocals and keys, very typical 1982 US style, very polished and radio-ready but damn catchy! On the other hand, "I ain't got no money" and especially the Rockabilly "Let it roll" (a la ELVIS) are the songs that spoil the album a bit.
On side-B the RICK SPRINGFIELD influences are very clear on opener "Talkin' like a fool" and it seemed like Todd was playing at safe, because also next track "Jealousy" was pure early 80s Melodic Poprock. So side-B was more Poprock at first sight, but happily it also contained some AOR tunes, such as "Tonight", a strong AOR song, with a chorus that sounds dangerously close to LE ROUX circa 'Last safe place' and FRANKE AND THE KNOCKOUTS. And also closing track "No more" with it's catchy harmonyvocals, which makes you again think of LE ROUX.
Basically, the album has 2 faces, AOR and Poprock. The Poprock owes a lot to RICK SPRINGFIELD's 'Success...'/'Working class dog' classics, while the AOR has touches of LE ROUX. In the end, a nice album with some great AOR songs, a bunch of nice Poprockers and also some Poppier tunes, a typical early 80s US record. If you enjoy the likes of RICK SPRINGFIELD, TOMMY TUTONE, JOHN O'BANION... then you will have to look for this one as well. The AOR fans will have to live with the fact that there are only a few AOR songs on this album that might wet their appetite.
Rating: 8.3 out of 10