RESTLESS isn't the 'real' name of this band. This moniker was chosen by leader Roger Sommers and the german label who resurrected this material on CD format in the late nineties.
All these songs were recorded during the '80s under the band name FREELANCE. The group never managed to find a deal back then, a real shame.
"Alone In The Dark" consists of tracks from two original four song demos that were recorded on a 16-track home studio plus some later "proper" studio tracks with much better production. But the roughness of some of these demos isn't a problem at all.
Musically this is '80s AOR with some pomp influences, while the newer songs are more hair / arena rock, strongly influenced by Def Leppard with lots of keyboards.
First track "Guilty" (from the 2nd demo) is a killer melodic hard rocker in the vein of the best White Sister with an updated sound.
On "Alone In The Dark" Sommers sounds like Steve Overland, in fact except some 'hair' twists, the whole band sounds like the british FM here.
"Don’t Do It To Me" is real belter. A great midtempo classic AOR with tons of keyboards, very british to my ears, similar to Shy or After Hours.
Next, "Lightnin’ Strikes" is another highlight, a Journey-esque melodic semi-ballad that was featured on the mythical AOR Basement 'unsigned bands' compilation "Hot Night In The City" in 1988 under their original name Freelance.
"Leavin' You" is the first track featured here in the Def Leppard style. The rhythm guitars are fat and the chorus multi-layered. Strong rocker.
Now.. the best track here in my opinion. "Keep The Fire Burning" is pure '80s pompy AOR with wonderful keyboards. Define AOR: this song! This one alone worth this disc.
"Painted Lady" is one from the 'old' recordings. A keyboard driven melodic rock full of energy and attitude.
On "I Don't Wanna Want You" the band decided to write a Foreigner-style ballady, and don't disappoint. Of course Sommers isn't Lou Gramm but he does a good job.
"Body To Body" links direcly to Def Lepp. Big choruses and arena rock vibe. Compared to Blue Tears too.
"Feels Like Love" is the very definition of pomp rock with that pulsing rhythm section, bright keyboards and big harmonies. A vintage track in the Roadmaster style.
The emotional ballad "Willing" close the regular edition of this release. Grand piano and orchestration, featuring a tight vocal performance.
The first of the 3 bonuses, "What Do You Know About Love" is from the last recording period, Leppard meets Billy Squier with a bluesy melodic rock touch and huge backing vocals.
Next, "Carry That Weight", a sweet acoustic based ballad that increases the tempo in the Damn Yankees style, very early nineties. I like this a lot.
"Lay Me Down" follows the melodic rock pattern of opener "Guilty". A gutsy track with big, big guitars.
Even when production isn't first rate at times, all this material is very well rounded and sounds absolutely professional.
Produced by Roger Sommers itself, during the eighties he has been studying sound engineering and that's evident here, now he's a well-respected producer and studio man, working with Saga, Jamie Rowe and others.
The personnel involved are all accomplished musicians, including guest appearances by Chuck Wright (Giuffria, House Of Lords) and Jeff Scott Soto on backing vocals.
"Alone In The Dark" is posted everywhere, but not the Japan edition with 3 bonus.
This is a pure '80s bliss. Don't miss it.
01 - Guilty
02 - Alone In The Dark
03 - Don't Do It To Me
04 - Lightning Strikes
05 - In Your Eyes
06 - Leavin' You
07 - Keep The Fire Burning
08 - Painted Lady
09 - I Don't Wanna Want You
10 - Body To Body
11 - Feels Like Love
12 - Willing
13 - What Do You Know About Love (bonus track)
14 - Carry That Weight (bonus track)
15 - Lay Me Down (bonus track)
Roger Sommers : Lead vocals, Guitar, Backing Vocals
Michael Lord : Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Jason Orme : Guitar
Scott Polluck : Bass
Danny Lux : Drums
Jac Mandel : Guitar
Bruffie Brigham : Bass
Mark Bennett : Drums
Chuck Wright : Bass
Jeff Scott Soto : Backing Vocals