GIANT was one of the few really good bands that emerged from the music scene of the late 80s and early 90s that seemed to know how to write and to perform, and in my opinion, should have received more notoriety than they did. “Session supergroup” Giant was formed in 1987, consisted by singer/guitarist Dann Huff (White Heart, Peter Cetera, Lou Gramm, etc.), his brother David (White Heart, Ron Collins, David and the Giants, etc.) on drums, bassist Mike Brignardello (Van Zant, Mitch Malloy) and Alan Pasqua (Eddie Money, Van Stephenson, Rick Springfield, Stan Bush, etc.) on keyboards.
“Last Of the Runaways” was the debut that captured the intensity of Dann Huff’s tremendous voice and his impressive songwriting. This debut album brought back the polished arena rock of the late 70s early 80s, and was a nice alternative when at the time the rock scene was dominated mostly by glam metal. Every song on this album is totally listenable, if that’s even a word. The music is so well balanced between vocals and instruments that you can actually enjoy the singing without being bowled over by overly dramatic instrumentation. These session guys combining elements of the wildly popular hair metal sound with a more accessible pop edge while the album is amongst the best produced of the 80s hard rock.
Dann Huff’s guitar playing is superb and Alan Pasqua’s keyboards are subtle and melodic, while the rhythm section is tight and powerful. “I’ll See You in my Dreams” was the biggest hit, simply sensational and full of true and strong emotions, written by Alan Pasqua and Mark Spiro, but there are many gems here like the upbeat opener “I’m a Believer”, that made me fall in love with this album. Just listen to the opening guitar solo and you’ll understand what I mean. A surefire opener, along with the catchy anthem “Shake Me Up”, the Huff’s brothers blows a sweeping rhythm like an incoming hurricane ready to wreck everything. The mid tempo “It Takes Two” and the power ballad “Love Welcome Home” are a huge contender to the hit, a slow tempo predictable ballads but contained a heartfelt humming that’s hard to resist. “Innocent Days” is a killer track that is the best on the album and when you think you’re already listening to the main hook, the song unexpectedly reaches yet another level. Things really get going again with the brilliant moody rocker “Stranger to Me” having a brooding solo that absolutely smokes while on “Hold Back the Night” the guitar playing is fabulous, a massive stadium rocker with a hook laden chorus that should have scored a high chart position. Things slow down a little with the moody “I Can’t Get Close Enough”, while on “No Way Out” there’s a bluesy and funky style having great groove. The last track “The Big Pitch” is another party rocker featuring a catchy chorus and bumpy solos and a great way to end the album.
Songs like these never die and as music changes through the years, songs like these only get better and better when we look back on them. Last of the Runaways is one of the all time great melodic rock albums and anyone interested in AOR/melodic rock must add this album to their collection.
Dann Huff – Lead vocals, guitars
Alan Pasqua – Keyboards, vocals
David Huff – Drums, vocals
Mike Brignardello – Bass, vocals
Lea Hart, Peter Howarth, Terry Thomas – Backing vocals
01. I’m a Believer
02. Innocent Days
03. I Can’t Get Close Enough
04. I’ll See You in my Dreams
05. No WayOut
06. Shake Me Up
07. It Takes Two
08. Stranger to Me
09. Hold Back the Night
10. Love Welcome Home
11. The Big Pitch
Review by http://melodic-hardrock.com