330. Idle Cure – Idle Cure
IDLE CURE (1986)
Mike MacLane of Frontline records called me up when I was working at Maranatha Village and told I needed to come over and listen to something. Like I always did, I hurried over to their offices and we went into Brian’s office to listen to music. Mike told Brian had should turn it up really high. That was always a good sign!
Seconds later a piercing scream of “Breakaway” shook the office windows. Followed immediately be crunching guitar and a monster hook. the Foreigner like vocals and huge, melodic chorus had me hooked. That was my introduction to Idle Cure. Lead singer Steve Shannon would sing a David Edwards song at my wedding a few years later.Heavier and “cooler” than Petra, but not metal.
The popular phrase “men of their time” fits Idle cure better then most. Sure, the Def Leppard, Foreigner rock was for a specific era and many judge too harshly the time. What can’t be mistaken, though, is the fact that for the time, this album was pure gold. Great rockers mixed with radio ready ballads were the perfect hit combination. This formula was worked for optimum success by producer Bill Baumgart.
Enough keyboards to keep the record from straying into the big hair metal category and diversity in arrangements allowed for constant repeated listening. What was strayed from was the songwriting formula. Toned down verses, big hooky choruses, massive wall of sound backing vocals and tasty, just heavy enough guitars. Foreigner, Bon Jovi and the rest understood how this worked and so did Idle Cure.
The first ballad, Take It, was Frontline’s first big radio hit I believe. The Chicago influenced ballad would also be one of the first “background tapes” the company would have to produce as people wanted to sing the song during church. Six of the eight songs were rockers and two ballads. Again, the perfect formula for hit records. But it really boiled down to just how good the songs actually were.