Le Roux

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After a pair of long-players credited as "Louisiana's LeRoux", the sextet shortened their handle to simply Le Roux for their next outing, Up (1980) . The nine-song effort has a definite AOR feel, due at least in part to the influence of top-shelf West Coast studio musician and producer Jai Winding. His voluminous credits include work with Molly Hatchet and Warren Zevon, among countless others. Immediately out of the gate, Le Roux wails on the Jeff Pollard (guitars/vocals) penned blazer "Let Me Be Your Fantasy." Pollard nails the high-energy vocal and the performance features a blistering toe-to-toe face-off between him and fellow stringman Tony Haselden (guitar/vocals), who follows with the commanding "Get It Right the First Time." The latter's furtive and almost suspenseful score is countered during the aggressive full-tilt chorus, providing the perfect outlet for blending Le Roux's edgier approach together with their established style. This fusion continues on Rod Roddy's slightly progressive and thoroughly driving "Mystery." His keyboard prowess explores a varied range, from the impending piano introduction to some ethereal electric organ textures supporting Pollard's imposing lead. Equally impressive is David Peters (drums) solid timekeeping, particularly the tasty fills seamlessly bridging the vocals with the instrumentation. As one of only two slower numbers "Roll Away the Stone" is prototypical of the so-called "power ballad" genre as the tender and introspective verses are emotively pumped up during the memorable and easily repeated midtempo chorus. It is custom-made for concert attendees hearing the song to simultaneously whip out their disposable Bic lighter(s) and proudly wave them in the air. "It Could Be the Fever" returns to the metal-ish fist-pumping fare that Winding seemed to summon, setting up the second half of the album as "I Know Trouble When I See It," "Waiting on Your Love," and the best of the lot "Crying Inside," resemble the sound that Styx and REO Speedwagon were concurrently having their greatest successes with. Unquestionably it is the combination of Pollard and Roddy's strong material and the combo's cohesiveness that were key factors in yielding a collection that remains both indicative of its era, while not resigned to being a relic. In 2002, the band issued the live Higher Up (2002) taken from the Up tour with a program that boasts eight of the disc's nine cuts.

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