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Part of the American CCM AOR movement, Gaube's bros. band ILLUSTRATOR released two solid albums in the second half of the '80s. This kind of bands developed an interesting performance during the era launching radiable and commercial discs with a very good artistic production.
Illustrator's self-titled debut (posted on the blog) gained considerable success in CCM circles and mainstream radio, but it was their 2nd "Somewhere In The World" which achieved recognition between secular AOR fans, thanks to its catchy melodies and lush harmonies.
With a crisp production by Freddie Piro (Fortress, 707, Ambrosia) the overall sound on "Somewhere In The World" is typically polished '80s AOR with a pumping rock&pop punch, nice riffs, cool synths, and smooth lead vocals by Nathan Gaub helped by great harmony vocals provided by his two brothers and some stellar contributors such as Tim Miner and Cindy Cruse.
Speaking about additional personnel, the one & only Dann Huff (Giant) provides most the guitar solos on the album raising the bar.
Opener 'New Way To Love' is a highlight with its bouncy rhythm, sparkling keys and a killer Huff-trademark guitar solo. 'Dying To Meet You' has some Toto on it, then ballad 'Hold My Heart' brings to mind Illustrator's mates in the CCM, Liaison (a band featured on the blog aeons ago).
The 'mysterious AOR' of 'Cryin' Time' is another fav of mine, with that cadence akin the 'slash flick' soundtracks from the era. Love it.
There's a nice cover of Glenn Shorrock / Little River Band 'Help Is On It's Way', and some Canadian influences on the elegant semi-ballad 'Listen'.
If you need more sumptuous '80s AOR look no more and press play on the delicious 'Shoulda Been Love', a track that always brought to my mind Mickey Thomas' Starship.
After this record Illustrator taped another album but it was shelved, finally appearing in 2011.
"Somewhere In The World", alongside the self-titled debut were re-released some time ago as 2-on-1 CD, but honestly, I didn't liked the sound transfer.
This is taken from the original 1989 Ocean Records CD release which sounds much better, complete with artwork.
01 - New Way To Love
02 - Dying To Meet You
03 - Hold My Heart
04 - Cryin' Time
05 - I Surrender
06 - Help Is On The Way
07 - Listen
08 - Shoulda Been Love
09 - Feels Like
10 - Carry The Cross
Nathan Gaub - lead vocals, keyboards
Dan Gaub - guitars, vocals
Dawndee Gaub - keyboards, vocals
Mark Matthews - lead vocals, bass, keyboards
Kirk Allen - drums, vocals
Dann Huff - guitar solos
Don Wallace - keyboards
Randy Lee - saxophone
Tim Miner, Cindy Cruse, Alan Ebensberger, Julie Philpott - backing vocals
ILLUSTRATOR Somewhere In The World (1989)