Published on September 21st, 2019 | by Justin G.
Shy: Excess All Areas (Rock Candy, 1987/2019)
The stars were all in alignment for British melodic hard rock band Shy when they released their third album Excess All Areas in 1987. They had enthusiastic label support from RCA, one of the best producers in the business in Neil Kernon and even got songwriting support from Michael Bolton and Don Dokken. Excess All Areas was going to do for Shy what The Final Countdown did for Europe…until it didn’t.
This is one of the most perplexing stories in melodic rock. Shy did literally everything right and somehow never made a big breakthrough. It’s a real shame, because Excess All Areas is such a fantastic album. Shy took the sound that worked so well on 1985’s Brave The Storm and tweaked it just enough that it should have thrilled the people buying Dokken, King Kobra and Autograph albums. It was melodic, it had a metallic edge and a slick production job, and of course Tony Mills gave a dynamite vocal performance.
Excess All Areas had a pair of fantastic singles in “Emergency” and “Break Down The Walls” that should have been all over MTV at the time, but the rest of the album is just as strong. “Talk To Me,” “Can’t Fight The Night” and “Under Fire” are all great examples of just how good Shy was on this album, and the Foreigner-sounding ballad “When The Love Is Over” is first-class AOR.
It may not have made the band superstars, but Excess All Areas remains a classic of the ‘80s melodic hard rock era. It’s arguably Shy’s finest hour (though Brave The Storm may edge it out), and is on par with what bands like TNT, King Kobra, Europe, Autograph and yes even Def Leppard were releasing at the time. Call this one a mandatory melodic hard rock album, especially now that it has been reissued.
Edition Notes: Excess All Areas was reissued once before, but it gets the deluxe Rock Candy treatment this year. They’ve given it a brilliant new remastering, and added four bonus tracks: the b-sides “Run For Cover,” “Only You” and “Don’t Wanna Lose Your Love” and an alternate mix of “Break Down The Walls.” There’s also a great booklet with vintage photos and a detailed essay/interview by Malcolm Dome. It’s more than a little bittersweet revisiting this classic album so soon after cancer claimed the life of Tony Mills, but the music lives on and Rock Candy definitely justice to this critical part of Mills’ legacy.
Summary: RIP Tony Mills