Rose Royce

Fresh Cut

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When Rose Royce recorded Fresh Cut in 1986 the band wasn't nearly as popular as it had been in the late 1970s. They hoped to make a comeback and the Los Angeles residents decided that the way to accomplish that was by being relevant to the urban contemporary scene of 1986. So on Fresh Cut Rose Royce works with some of the hot producers of that era (including Nick Martinelli and Arthur Baker) and tries to be more urban contemporary-sounding without being completely unfaithful to its history. Synthesizers and drum machines are more prominent and the horns are decreased without eliminating them. The ballads (which include the emotional "You're My Peace of Mind" and an inspired remake of the Temptations' "Just My Imagination") are excellent, and more up-tempo items like "If Walls Could Talk" and "Magic Doll" are enjoyable even though they aren't in a class with Rose Royce's late 1970s funk. One can understand why they changed their sound -- it made sense to change with the times. Nonetheless, anyone who savored Rose Royce's classic 1970s output can't help but miss hearing all those horns. But Fresh Cut has many more ups than downs, and it's a generally pleasing addition to the band's catalogue even though it falls short of essential.

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