Published on March 27th, 2021 | by Justin G.
Wildlife: Burning (Rock Candy, 1980/2021)
Originally released in 1980, Burning was the debut album from UK AOR band Wildlife. The band wasn’t exactly a household name, but any band that features future FM alum Steve and Chris Overland is worth paying attention to, especially once a reissue label like Rock Candy gives newcomers – like yours truly – a second chance to discover them.
I hesitate a bit to call Wildlife an AOR band. That’s a tag I’d easily give FM, but Wildlife’s sound was almost too soft rock for that. Burning sounds like something The Babys or maybe Franke & The Knockouts might have released at the time. It’s super light and soft, which I’m sure made perfect sense for an album on the Chrysalis label in 1980, but this album really needs some good hooks to go with Steve Overland’s smooth as silk vocals.
Even though it’s much lighter than what the Overlands would go on to do with FM, Burning is still a noteworthy album if you’re a fan of Steve Overland. Even as a teenager he still had an instantly recognizable voice, and clearly he could use it in soft and hard rock settings. Obviously Wildlife didn’t really take off. They turned in one more album (a 1983 self-titled album Rock Candy will no doubt be reissuing at some point) before calling it a day. Check this one out if you’re a die-hard Overland fan, or you have a thing for early ‘80s soft rock.
Edition Notes: Rock Candy’s reissue of Burning marks the first time this album has been released on CD. As with all Rock Candy reissues, this one features a brand new digital remastering and a booklet with a band history and vintage photos. I’ve read some grumbling about the remastering being sourced from vinyl instead of actual masters, but to my ears it sounds good. Audiophiles may want to do some digging if they’re concerned. No bonus tracks on this one, but it’s still the kind of high quality reissue you expect from Rock Candy.
Summary: Pre-FM wimpiness from the Overlands