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Monday, March 17, 2014

Music Review - Heart: "Magazine" Audio Fidelity Hybrid SACD


Heart's third studio album, "Magazine," finally gets the Audio Fidelity treatment with the release of the newly remastered SACD Edtion.

"Magazine" has always been the album in Heart's discography that had a black cloud hanging over it. Mushroom Records originally released the album without the band's consent in 1977 after Heart had jumped ship to record Portrait Records.  Mushroom claimed they had a 2 album deal with Heart so the company put together the bits and pieces they had and released the 8 track LP known as "Magazine."  The band later reconvened to remix and re-record parts of the album to give it a more fitting release and that version saw the light of day in an April 1978 exactly 1 year after the original release.

It's been 36 years since "Magazine" last appeared and although it is still a somewhat flawed release the Audio Fidelity SACD sounds better than it ever has.  Comprised of 5 original Heart compositions including 1 that was recorded in 1973, a cover of Badfinger's "Without You" + 2 LIVE recordings from 1975 "Magazine" just doesn't hold together as a true Heart album the way "Little Queen" or "Dog & Butterfly" do and that's too bad because the opening song "Heartless" is without a doubt one of the band's very best songs and continues to be played LIVE even today.

Steve Hoffman has done an incredible job of making this cobbled together long play sound fresh and exciting and the 1 -2 punch of "Heartless" followed by "Devil Delight" are an amazing way to kick off any album.  In the end the album suffers from the lack of focus and direction.

If you're a Heart fanatic then you will definitely want to own the SACD release of "Magazine" as it does service as the definitive version of this album.  Casual fans can stick with finding "Heartless" on one of the band's greatest hits CDs or just cherry pick the other songs you might like via iTunes.

Drumroll please...

"Magazine" the Audio Fidelity SACD release... 9 out of 10 drumsticks!!!

BUT

"Magazine" the album... 5 out of 10 drumsticks!!!

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