Dave Foster Band - Maybe They'll Come Back For Us

Kev Rowland

Back in 1992 I was sent a cassette by Steve Paine of Legend and Pagan Media of a new band he had just signed, formed by four youngsters from Liverpool School of Music. The tape was ‘Thoughts of Fear and Principle’, the band was Mr. So & So and included in their ranks, guitarist Dave Foster and drummer Leon Parr. I was fortunate enough to see them play live a couple of times, and even caught the splinter band Sleeping Giant, where they were joined that night by one Steve Rothery. Rothery has been an important element in Dave’s career, landing the So & So’s support slots with Marillion, while Dave and Leon both joined his band. In fact, it was Rothery who introduced Dave to Dutch singer Dinet Poortman as they had both independently supported Marillion in different outfits. After some co-written songs which appeared on Foster’s solo albums ‘Gravity’ (2011) and ‘Dreamless’ (2016), they formed this group together, and this is their third album. While they are firmly at the helm they have of course brought in other musicians and Leon is there on drums, as well as Rothery on guitar, along with bassist Mark King of Level 42, bassist Neil Fairclough (Queen + Adam Lambert), pianist Anthony Hindley and string arranger Stephen Boyce Buckley.

Recently I was fortunate enough to review the latest Big Big Train album, ‘The Likes of Us’, and commented how nice it was to hear Dave providing a rock edge to the more pastoral sound, and here he has taken that edge much further into a commercial rock belter of an album where he and Dinet work in perfect harmony. She has a wonderfully clear vocal style which is perfectly suited to a rock/pop environment with progressive undertones, and the arrangements have been set so that the listener gets led nicely into a guitar solo here, or crunch there. They never overpower each other, but rather there are times when the guitars take more of a backseat, picking and providing a backdrop, but coming in harsher and harder when the need arises. The result is something which is inviting and enthralling the first time it is played, yet there are hidden depths which become more apparent as it is repeated.

Even without looking at the personnel I knew it was Leon playing at the back, as he has an innate sense of when to hit hard and be complex, and when to not play at all, when to drive in with complicated fills or keep it more basic. I did get it wrong on the bass though, as there were times I was convinced that Shaun McGowan had been involved due to the style of the incredible basslines, but of course Mark King was probably a huge inspiration for Shaun, and here we have the man himself.

This is commercial rock pop which is a blast from beginning to end, and in many ways is a logical progression from where the So & So’s left off in 2013 with ‘Truths, Lies & Half Lies’. Packed with powerful dynamics, prog elements, crunching layers of guitars, commercial hooks, wonderful arrangements and great vocals, this is mighty fine indeed.

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