3rd Matinee

Meanwhile

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As 3rd Matinee's debut album Meanwhile was released on April 26, 1994, "I'll Remember," a song co-written by the group's principals, A-list producer Patrick Leonard and former Mr. Mister leader Richard Page, with Madonna, was bulleted in the Top 20 in her recording. That song does not appear on Meanwhile, and the disc does not sound like a Madonna album minus Madonna, however. The group's name recalls Leonard's previous group, Toy Matinee, which also released an album on Reprise Records three-plus years ago, and many of the subsidiary musicians are the same. But Toy Matinee was co-led by a different singer, Kevin Gilbert, with a different musical sensibility, and Meanwhile doesn't sound like Toy Matinee, either. So, what does it sound like? It sounds like a Richard Page solo album produced by Patrick Leonard. Page has a throaty, expressive voice that reportedly earned him invitations to join Chicago and Toto after Mr. Mister split up. Instead, he teamed up with Leonard, and, from the sound of this album, the two spent a lot of time listening to Peter Gabriel and at least a little listening to Steve Winwood and Sting. The result is an album of evocative, sophisticated pop/rock full of yearning and moodiness, albeit without real depth. Gabriel has become less and less productive, taking six years to follow up Us properly with So in 1992, so fans may get impatient as the years go by. If so, this Gabriel-lite effort may help them cope, but it remains the work of talented musicians lacking a true spark of their own creativity.

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