Bonrud – “Save Tomorrow”
Escape Music (2012)
Rating: 5 / 6
In melodic rock these days, central locality to form the right partnership isn’t as necessary if you have talent, technology, and time at your disposal. Guitarist/bassist Paul Bonrud started Bonrud with vocalist Rick Forsgren, releasing their debut album on Frontiers Records. It didn’t matter at the time that Seattle, Washington and Saint Paul, Minnesota were their respective locales- their vision to produce high quality melodic rock with Journey and Foreigner as their inspiration led the band to acclaim and chart action in Europe and Japan. The follow up “Save Tomorrow” may have a new drummer Paul Higgins and a trio of keyboardists supplying their skills (Richard Baker, Eric Ragno, and Dave Gross) but the end result is pure gold for those of us who love the late 70’s to late 80’s AOR hit making years.
The measuring stick of a great melodic rock album begins and ends with hooks- and “Save Tomorrow” swings plenty of them early and often. The title cut charges with Paul’s feel good riffing style as Rick Forsgren soars with his multi-octave high notes- transporting you back to the better Schon/Perry moments with Journey during “Escape” and “Frontiers” years- along with a touch of Jimi Jamison era Survivor. “American Dream” has a little of that old Michael Bolton (during his rock days) meets Aldo Nova feel musically- the right guitar squeals and licks that keep this mid-tempo arrangement catchy and in the pocket groove-wise. Paul also co-produced the 12 song effort with renowned producer Keith Olsen– who’s only worked with Fleetwood Mac, Foreigner, and Rick Springfield among others- so this has a potent, in your face sound with the emphasis in all the right places. Only downside- the comic book caper cover art… this fine release deserves a better first impression than that.
My current favorites include the made for radio “Torn Apart” and the Loverboy riffs meets Queen vocal harmonies for the closer “You’re The One”- but I didn’t hear a weak song out of the bunch. One you can play for the family for sure- and leave humming quite a few parts in the process- kudos to Bonrud and I can’t wait for what’s in store for future records.
Composed by Matt Coe