What’s The Rockbrat Listening To Today? CINDERELLA – STLL CLIMBING (1994)

Many an observer, including myself, consider Cinderalla to be a class above all that late 80’s hair metal dross. Whilst it’s true that in 1987/87, and the release of their first album, they indulged in it, the follow up albums, Long Cold Winter and Heartbreak Station confirmed in no uncertain terms that Cinderella were indeed a cut above the rest. Here was a band who became less reliant on image and wanted to steer far away as possible from all the lipstick poser bands with their thin sound and limited song writing ability. Tom Keifer created great hard rock / blues dripping in slide guitar and melody aplenty. He had plenty of killer songs in the cupboard too, and if anyone thinks that Cinderella were a one trick pony need to re examine  the bands first three albums. It’s well known that In 1991, Keifer lost his voice due to a paresis of his vocal cords. He underwent several surgeries to repair a vocal cyst and hemorrhage. This added to delays in the recording of the band’s fourth album, Still Climbing, which finally was released in 1994. The musical landscape in 1994 looked a lot different to what it had only a few years prior. The hair bands were gone, flannel shirts were back in and Soundgarden, Nirvana and Pearl Jam were the new kids on the block. Suddenly, alternative music went mainstream, and the big record companies were quick to sign  em all up in the hope of finding another Kurt. Whilst I readily admit that bands like Pretty Boy Floyd and all the other pretty poseurs deserved a stake through the heart – much of this grunge drudge lacked melody – and the genocide of glam metal meant that the handful of quality bands (Cinderella included) also went down the tubes. Which brings me back to the ‘Still Climbing’ album. In 94, this album escaped me – yet Ive rediscovered it. Looks take a closer look. In the personnel ranks, Freddy Afro Coury had jumped ship to join Stephen Pearcy’s proposed supergroup, ‘Arcade’ (see above for death of glam). Unlike his previous rodent outfit, Milton Berle was not backing this project, and this nag sunk faster than George Rose at a pool party. As it was, long time Johnny Cougar sticksman  Kenny Aronoff filled the drumstool. Like a ship venturing into the Bermuda Triangle this album quickly dissapeared without trace. The album was the victim of new MTV policy that ignored it, and a record company that barely promoted it, all in order to test a different market (ie: bearded guys with shorts playing gurrrunge). “Still Climbing” ascended to a chart position of #178 and then sunk. Pity too. Its stacked to the brim with the expected bluesy hard rock that became the Cinderella sound, but it showed diversification, without compromising on the big melody. Unlike, KI$$, here was a band who weren’t about to jump on the grunge bandwagon. “Bad Attitude Shuffle” is a treat, as is the rockin “All Comes Down”. “Talk Is Cheap” shows originality on the vocal parts in the verses with highs and lows aplenty.  “Hard To Find The Words’ is an as expected – killer ballad.  “Hot and Bothered” is more bitchin blues. So many great tunes on this one – what a shame that timing didn’t do it’s release justice. 8 out of 10. Go forth and discover.

 

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