After being intermittently active during the mid-'80s, Ian Hunter returned full force to the world of rock & roll with this 1989 album. As usual, Mick Ronson plays an important role, making a substantial contribution to the songwriting and supplying an array of tasty guitar licks. The result is a strong outing that brings Hunter's classically styled rock up to date: the standout example of this is "American Music," a heartfelt tribute to the music that inspired "Hunter" as a child that combines power chords with a slickly harmonized chorus to create a punchy slice of pop-flavored rock & roll. YUI Orta is the slickest-sounding album in Hunter's catalog thanks to the efforts of Bernard Edwards, the producer best known for being half of the creative brain trust behind Chic and producing slick outings for the Power Station and Robert Palmer. This pairing might seem odd in concept but it results in an effective sound that rocks hard but offers enough ear candy elements to make the whole package listener friendly. For instance, Edwards adds a serpentine horn riff to "Cool" that cleverly enhances its soulfulness without taming the song's hard rock edge. YUI Orta also benefits from a strong, thoroughly engaging positivity in Hunter's lyrics: examples include "The Loner," a song that points out how it's a good thing to stand apart from the crowd, and "Big Time," an exuberant, rollicking tune that tells the listener, "you're never too small to hit the big time." Although it never achieved the sales it deserved, YUI Orta remains an exciting album that is worthy of rediscovery by both anyone interested in Ian Hunter's work and anyone interested in good, old-fashioned rock & roll.
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AllMusic Review by Donald A. Guarisco