From the atypical land for pompy AOR, Stingray was the first South African band to play this genre.
Their first self-titled album, heavily influenced by Boston, Journey, Queen and a bit of early Survivor, scored the local hit "Better The Devil You Know" reaching #4 in the South African radio charts, which was also played in several European countries, specially Germany.
Aside from the pomp keyboards and style, their music has a strong Melodic Rock feel on many tracks, as on the fabulous opener "Better The Devil You Know", a catchy tune with a fantastic chorus.
Follower "The Man In My Shoes" has an earlier Boston influence, from the vocal harmonies to the melodic line. A killer track.
If the previous song had some Boston scent, wait to hear "Same Old Party". Layers and layers of terrific harmony vocals, swirling keyboards and a monster contagious chorus makes this song a favorite.
"Breakdown" has a melodic Survivor feel, while "Devotion" is a Journey-esque midtempo with some proggy AOR elements.
"Where Do We Go From Here" is another favorite. Again influenced by Boston but essentially by Queen due the great vocal arrangements.
Another great one is the classy "Love Saver" where the guitar work resembles Brian May. On "Whole Lotta Fire" they rock a bit harder in the late '70s American style.
"Lucy" is a superb pure pomp AOR ballad based on electric keys, where the lead vocals really shine.
"Stingray" is a great and pretty unknown Pomp AOR / Melodic Rock album with infectious melodies and excellent harmonies, with a crisp and lush production typically American sounding (despite of being recorded in Johannesburg).
As a curious note, drummer Shaun Wright lost a leg in a shark attack in 1980 whilst surfing at Balito Bay. He carried on drumming, but was eventually replaced by Wally Cullis for the next and last album, from which the band was expecting an international success. Unfortunately it never happened, and the group split up soon.
A shame, because they were really good.
This is the CD reissue of the self titled debut with the addition of 2 single b-sides and different track order, re-entitled "Revisited Re-Mastered". I have my doubts if the 'remaster' was done from the master tapes, anyway, it sounds nice.
No fillers in sight, all tracks are really good.
01 - Better The Devil You Know
02 - The Man In My Shoes
03 - Same Old Party
04 - How Much
05 - Breakdown
06 - Devotion
07 - Where Do We Go From Here
08 - Gonna Keep My Head Together
09 - Love Saver
10 - Hard Headed Loner
11 - Whole Lotta Fire
12 - Lucy
Dennis East: Lead Vocals
Mike Pilot: Lead guitar & vocals
Danny Anthill: Keyboards, flute
Eddie Boyle: Bass
Allan Goldswain: Keyboards
Shaun Wright: Drums & percussion
STINGRAY - Revisited Re-Mastered