Tower City – A Little Bit Of Fire [1996]

We all know what happened with new melodic rock/AOR bands after 1993 till the beginning of the new millenium.

Tons of bands in this style were reduced to small indie labels, self production, practically no promotion/distribution, or directly not recording. Americans Tower City wasn’t the exception, but the band managed to release one of the best albums of the genre in that period.

TowerCity, was an American trio who formed in 1988 and best known for their debut album “A Little Bit of Fire”, featured former New Monkees guitarist/ vocalist Larry Saltis and his brother Heath on drums and keys. The band was originally signed toAtlanticin the early 90s, but the advent of grunge found the band without a label. The album, recorded back in 1992 and which features some of the best AOR songwriting you are ever likely to hear, sadly looked destined to never be heard, until MTM Records released the album in 1996 which gained the band a cult following worldwide.

TowerCity’s sound is straight out of the late 80s arena rock/AOR/melodic rock playbook. Big guitar hooks, lush melodies, love song lyrics, smooth vocals and monster choruses are their trademark, while the excellent work in production by guitarist Mike Slamer (Streets,Steelhouse Lane, Warrant) raises the album a few levels even higher. The whole album is a big highlight and it’s quite difficult to designation one or more songs as my favourite. However I’ll focus on some of them that deserve serious attention started from the opener “Talking to Sarah”, and in my opinion, is the highlight of the whole album, displays a great melodic rock sound with distinguished use of both guitars and keyboards ending to a beautiful refrain. “Little Bit of Fire” is another winner. Close to Def Leppard style, an amazing melody from the first minute with on-the-go guitars and a never ending catchy chorus.

The mid tempo “Ain’t Nobody to Love” has a strong synth base, mixes the best of the classy sound of both aforementioned classic bands. The chorus is the big highlight on this track while “I’ll Sleep Tonight” is a modern melodic rock ballad with acoustic guitars and keyboards developing an intense, gorgeous melody. “Moonlight” is a great song to listen to with the windows rolled down. Good atmosphere, good soloing, catchy hook and good enough to make it into my favorite playlist. “Stop Running” is another monster song which was co-written bySteelhouse Lane’s Mike Slamer, with great guitar riffs, pompous keys and an incredible catchy chorus. You must listen this one. One more song that needs attention is “Hooked on Hope” sounds like a Gregg Fulkerson (Blue Tears) tune, with great ambiance, dense chorus and a very catchy rhythm guitar work.

The rest of the songs, getting started from the power ballad “Surrender”, the great rockin’ tune “Closer to the Heart” with its incredible key intro and the amazing catchy chorus that will drive you crazy, the mid tempo “When It All Falls Down”, the mid paced tunes like “Something About You” and “Love and Money” but also the lovely “Down All Night”, are just excellent slabs of melodic hard rock.

A great melodic rock album with bags of variety and inventiveness that everyone can find a place in their hearts for. If you’re a fan of the 80s and early 90s AOR sound, you’ll definitely want to hear whatTowerCityhad to offer.

Band Members
Heath Saltis – Drums,Background Vocals
Larry Saltis – Vocals,Guitar
T.P. Weiner – Bass,Background Vocals

01. Talking To Sarah
02. Little Bit Of Fire
03. Ain’t Nobody To Love
04. I’ll Sleep Tonight
05. Moonlight
06. Surrender
07. Closer To The Heart
08. Stop Running
09. When It All Falls Down
10. Something About You
11. Hooked On Hope
12. Down All Night
13. Love And Money

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