Published on December 9th, 2017 | by Justin G.
Boulevard: IV – Luminescence (MelodicRock)
Now here is something I thought I would never see: a new studio album from Canadian AOR band Boulevard. It’s been nearly three decades since their last album (1990’s Into the Street), but the reunited band is back with a new album titled IV: Luminescence. (If you’re wondering what the third album was, apparently they’re counting the Live From Gastown DVD). Luminescence was recorded at the legendary Abbey Road Studio.
I have to admit I had a hard time with this album at first. Not because it wasn’t good. It’s pretty darned terrific, actually. It’s because Boulevard’s debut album BLVD is one of my most played, absolute favorite AOR releases (Into the Street is no slouch either), and it’s impossible not to compare Luminescence to it. The first couple of spins were just to get over the “this doesn’t sound like BLVD” factor. Luminescence does sound like a proper Boulevard album though. It has all of the elements you expect, like the sublime melodies, the pop sensibility, the expertly placed saxophone and keyboards, and the first-rate songwriting and production. David Forbes’ vocals sound a bit different all these years later, but they still convey a world of emotion in every song.
In their heyday, Boulevard was one of the best at combining pop and AOR, on par with The Outfield and Glass Tiger, and they still have that magic touch. The emphasis is more on the AOR side here, with gorgeous ballads like “Confirmation” and “What I’d Give,” and songs like “I Can’t Tell You Why” and “Slipping Away” are more upbeat numbers that would have been right at home on Into the Street. The whole album is beautiful though, and the songs stay with you long after the album ends.
Even if it did take a while to really grow on me, I came to love Luminescence. I’m beyond thrilled that Boulevard is back making albums and playing live shows, and that they’re doing it this well. If you love the first two Boulevard albums, you should have no hesitation at all in picking this one up. It’s a more than worthy continuation of their legacy, and one of the smoothest, most satisfying AOR albums 2017 has to offer. It’s also an album fans of The Outfield, Survivor, Glass Tiger, Dare and Mecca really need to hear.
PS – American fans will get a chance to see Boulevard live at next year’s MelodicRock Fest 5 event. I am not missing that.
Summary: Man it's good to have this band back making music again.