CD Review: New England “I Know There’s Something Here”

To many people, the year 1979 feels like an entire other lifetime. That year was the year that the Boston-based rock band New England released their self-titled release. New England was a quartet made up of guitarist/vocalist John Fannon, drummer/vocalist Hirsh Gardner, keyboardist/vocalist Jimmy Waldo and bassist Gary Shea. New England would end up being discovered at that time by Paul Stanley, member of the band KISS. Along with Mike Stone, Stanley would go on to produce that self-titled album for the band that would ultimately contain the singles “Never Wanna Lose Ya” and “Hello, Hello, Hello” that the band would be remembered for. While New England would release a total of three studio releases, the band’s self-titled album would be the biggest release from the band as it peaked at number 50 on the Billboard Top 200.

Over the years, every member of the band has had their share of notoriety as both Jimmy Waldo and Gary Shea would join forces with guitarists Yngwie Malmstein and Steve Vai and singer Graham Bonnet to form the band Alcatrazz; John Fannon would go on to win an Emmy for Post Audio Production work; and Hirsh Gardner recently produced New York-based songwriter Willie Nyles.

But through it all the members of New England have stayed in contact with each other, although the band’s active time period was from 1978-82. The 35 years the members have been active in the music industry have resulted in a very impressive catalog of studio, live, compilation, and solo albums.

New England recently got back together and has done several live performances and has started recording new music. In fact, the band is currently promoting their newest release, a two-song single featuring the new song called “I Know There’s Something Here”.

I Know There’s Something Here” begins with a soft organ and harmony from the vocals from New England. When the track finally exposes the vocals from guitarist/vocalist John Fannon, the track proves that he still has the voice that many know so well from the band’s earlier material. The band creates a song that contains the Power Rock sound they have always had back then but the song also contains something else. With the track “I Know There’s Something Here” being several decades removed from the original releases from New England, the band seems to have incorporated some of the styles from the decades that have followed the heyday of the band. With those influences, the band’s newest recorded track takes the band’s sound and makes it feel as fresh as anything out there today while still maintaining some of the band’s earlier sound and feel.

With the other track of the two-song release, the band of New England revisits their song of “Conversation,” a track that was found on the album Explorer Suite, the band’s 1981 follow-up to their 1979 self-titled debut. While the original track featured a pop-rock feel with a light, driving feel to the music, New England took the track and created an acoustic version of the track. The light, driving feel of the music is replaced with an even lighter approach that takes the band’s sound in an almost folk-like direction. And with the inclusion of the harmonica from John Fannon, the track even seems to contain a little influence from Bob Dylan. Like “I Know There’s Something Here” before it, “Conversation (2015)” finds the band creating a sound that feels fresh yet familiar.

With this simple two-song release, it’s great to hear that New England is truly still as relevant today as anyone else out there. If you were a fan of New England back in the late seventies/early eighties, or if you’re new to the band, “I Know There’s Something Here” is a great track to hear to catch up with a band that should have been a lot bigger. And since this release is only two songs long, it gives the listener a great indication of what is to come.

For their new music, New England has created a vinyl record as a way of getting their new music out to their fans. The vinyl version goes along with the download version of the music. Check out the band’s website for more information.

To check out “I Know There’s Something Here” from New England, click HERE.