It has been a long wait for the next Rock City album. Six years between albums is not your typical time frame however this is not your typical band by any means.
Rock City made some extraordinary music and one of those albums that never made it out to the general public was Who Can Find The Dreamer? Was this second coming a complete surprise or just long lost classic just itching for a chance to live again? That question is only answered by those in the know and I do not count amongst those select few. I can tell you one thing without any hesitation; this was a classic that was waiting to happen. 1984 was the year it was intended to be released but everything happens for a reason. 25 years later the band decided to blow the dust off the master tapes, add some live drums and select guitar parts and magic happens, we have a new release 25 years later more than just freshened up a bit .
Original members Jeff Smith (guitars), Thomas Dean Eubanks (bass, vocals), and Terry Manning (keyboards) got back together to remaster and add all the new parts while bringing in Joshua Dougan (Jonah 33) to handle the drums. The drums are all excellent and the overall sound is exceptional, highlighting every nuance of the original intent of the recording and more.
Eubanks sounds like Byran Ferry, particularly on the opening track “Seems So Long” but only in spots thereafter. He has a solid rock voice that is full of emotion always enunciating the lyrics with profound clarity. There are some interesting things going on with the storyline of the Dreamer. Track #2 “Denied (Intro) ” and “Final Message” are the same. It has a distraught man sobbing leaving a message to an overprotective father telling him “You won, I hope you are happy” - the poor me story we all know too well coming from the all time loser, or is he the Dreamer in all of us? Then it launches into the full rocking track with verses such as “you cannot do this, you cannot do that”. I felt that was the best cut on the CD.
What it ends up sounding close to when it’s all over is a rock opera. You get the feeling that perhaps this is just the beginning of an ongoing story with an eventuality that is up for grabs, leaving room for another album. There are a lot of possibilities to speculate with this fine recording but you can bet your bottom dollar that what you will hear is a rock solid album full of great music and fine tuned musicianship.
The effort put into this package is commendable. Every aspect is above average. The bizarre Chuckie looking character on the cover is surrounded by a menagerie of freak clowns and one very sad little girl. What it all means is anyone’s guess but it does fit the concept of the album quite well if you listen to the words and how the tracks are arranged. The artwork is stunning regardless of how chillingly odd it may be. Think art/music psychosis and you are getting the drift.
My first inclination was to tab this as a progressive rock album and it is progressive in regards to the presentation and artwork coupled with a compelling story then matched up with some complex music at times. After listening carefully and breaking it all down, what you really have is a rock album with pop elements that are filled with lyrics that are a bit intense, in comparison to anything else you would hear on an album today. It does not sound dated as you may anticipate because it was intended for release in 1984, instead you get a very modern recording thanks to the embellishments and remastering and additional guitars. I would recommend this CD to any rock fan, besides aren’t you wondering now Who Can Find The Dreamer?
Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
May 19, 2009