THE ARROWS – The Lines Are Open – Re-release
The second album from Canadian melodic rockers The Arrows originally hit the streets in 1985- prime time for this style of music. Due to label pressure to get that instantaneous, radio worthy hit, "The Lines Are Open" did not succeed in terms of album sales- but is still worthy of re-release for its catchy songwriting and spirited melodies. 10 musicians created this 10 song album: a full brass section with saxophones and trumpets beyond the normal guitars, keyboards, bass and drums.
With rich, vibrant Rick Springfield-like vocals from Dean McTaggert (think classic 1980’s "Working Class Dog" era), material such as "Heart of the City", "Talk Talk", and "Chains" is right in line with John Parr, Chicago, and others who would navigate their way onto teen movie soundtracks of that time period. The drum sound is very electronic and the keyboard tones sometimes overpower the mix: so those who appreciate the newer breed of melodic rock will probably find some of these songs a touch cheesy and not standing the test of time. I did appreciate the nod to Human League’s "Don’t You Want Me" in the persistent keyboard riff for "Tell It to My Heart"- which in The Arrows case is more of a tender, restrained mid-tempo offering.
Good from a historical perspective, yet understandable why The Arrows didn’t achieve the breakthrough success of others in this category. The right combination of a killer hook, undeniable melody, and promotional muscle second to none didn’t take place. Maybe those who love Canadian AOR will desire this from a collector’s perspective.