For fans of arena rockers New England who wanted and needed more from John Fannon, Gary Shea, Jimmy Waldo and drummer Hirsh Gardner there were obscure tapes by many artists utilizing the group's trademark sound, Fannon and Gardner producing recordings when New England went their separate ways in 1983. 15 years after the breakup, New York's GB Music re-issued the original three-LP catalog on CD including a 20th anniversary, 10-song collection of demos for a fourth disc, "New England -1978". The liner notes implied that the band may reunite. And reunite they did, for a couple of moments, on Hirsh Gardner's long awaited solo album, Wasteland for Broken Hearts. The band showed up on the excellent final track, "More Than You'll Ever Know," a song with a theme similar to their 1979 Top 40 hit, "Don't Ever Wanna Lose Ya," and on "Welcome Home," co-written by John Fannon: another fine song which seems like a sequel to the group's "Explorer Suite," the title track to their second album from 1980. As fellow Bostonian Willie Alexander found his music being released in Japan on the Captain Trip label, GB Music licensed this to the Japanese company Marquee.
Wasteland for Broken Hearts is a remarkable record, engineered and produced by Gardner, who wrote all the songs, with the exception of the aforementioned "Welcome Home," as well as a cover of John Spinks' 1986 Top 10 hit with his band The Outfield, "Your Love." "Your Love" is most impressive, and though it complements the work well, the nugget here is the title track. "Wasteland for Broken Hearts" has Buddy Sullivan on bass and lead guitars with Gardner providing vocals, drums and keyboards. It is an amazing re-creation of the New England sound and is everything that group's fans could hope for. "Don't You Steal" continues the assault; it's a solid picture of the music Gardner is so familiar with, the singer/composer again playing drums and keys with Jim Smith on lead and rhythm and Chris Carvallo on bass. What is happening on this disc is that different musicians step up to the plate giving the songs subtle flavoring while maintaining the precise vocal-heavy dreamy crunch New England's fan base adores. Andre Maquera adds his bass and guitar to "She Is Love." The first three songs very, very strong. The pair are joined by two more musicians for "Thunder In Her Heart," with double bass on a tune that would no doubt have garnered more chart action for the group Asia. Gardner's wife, Tracie Gardner, who met Hirsh in the 1980s when he was producing her Boston band "The Core", shows up on the pretty "When The Sky Cries," along with Michela Gardner, and on "Hold Me In Your Dreams," which former New England producer and Kiss member Paul Stanley would be wise to cover. This album is a complete and sterling work by a journeyman artist staying true to the sounds he has worked with for over 25 years.