ATBPO or to give it its full name, And The Band Played On, is the 12th studio album by the American outfit Night Ranger; a band more probably famous across the pond and just maybe the band does not have the kudos of some of the bigger heavyweights. Night Ranger remain an exceptional melodic/hard rock band and at least one album ought to be in everyone’s collection. They have actually sold over 17 million albums since the formation of the band in the ’80s so they have a huge and active fan base that follows them avidly and long may that continue.
The album title appears to be a strange one but it is the band’s response to the problems and issues caused by the COVID pandemic and the refusal of musicians to allow it to stop them making music, thank goodness! Much of this album was recorded in their separate studios but it has all been beautifully put together and we now have a new and quite wonderful Night Ranger album to explore and fall in love with. It’s been 4 years
since the release of the very well received Don’t Let Up which continued the run of fine form that the band has shown since the glory days of the ’80s and ’90s and all confirm that the band is just as relevant today as it ever was. As with fine wines, some bands truly mature with age and continue to release high quality albums and that is where Night Ranger is today, veterans for sure but still capable of rocking alongside the younger and hungrier bands and they continue show them how it should be done. Come on, you know what you are going to get when you have a team that includes Jack Blades on bass and vocals, Brad Gillis on guitar, Kelly Keagy on drums and vocals, Eric Levy on keyboards and Keri Kelli on guitar, sheer perfection and class throughout.
This, of course, is the same team that brought us Don’t Let Up and ATBPO is the perfect follow up to it as the band again shows how refined cultured rock music should be played and they even stray a little into Eagles territory with the quite sublime Can’t Afford a Hero. For the main part though the band remains in AOR territory with the usual steaming and burning rockers and the occasional rock ballad to die for. The vocals of Blades and Keagy are exquisite and show no sign of age or strain as they turn back the clock to deliver yet another imperious rock and roll performance. The musicians continue to excite with their own take on stadium rock but they have always refused to simply go through the numbers or stay stuck in time as they are always looking forward and upwards and continue to push the music barriers. Just listen to tracks like Monkey or Tomorrow to see that this band remains a valid and vibrant recording and touring unit.
Great songs, huge hooks, wonderful vocal harmonies and exemplary levels of musicianship make ATBPO another wonderful melodic/AOR album from a band that truly deserves the title of legendary.
ATBPO track list
- Coming For You (4:38)
- Bring It All Home To Me (4:33)
- Breakout (4:14)
- Hard To Make It Easy (3:47)
- Can’t Afford A Hero (4:54)
- Cold As December (4:55)
- Dance (4:08)
- The Hardest Road (5:28)
- Monkey (4:02)
- A Lucky Man (3:49)
- Tomorrow (4:54)
- Savior (bonus song – CD & LP only) (3:53)