Fight for Recognition
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I recommend this album to any fan of REM, the Paisley Underground scene, and power folkrock in general. FFL is a collection of songs with soaring melodies with a wall of sound punch, reminiscent of the Byrds' Notorious Byrd Brothers. Be prepared for some pretty heavy subject matter. These songs share a common theme of spiritual adversity in a materialistic age. Deep stuff, but not preachy. Listen to the samples. Other highlights you won't hear are Walk, Talk Madly and The Journey with its extended Pink Floyd inspired climax. I envy you, your first listen. Get this disc!"
54/40's Quest for the Holy Grail
James Gaites | Arlington, VA United States | 09/01/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I discovered this band completely by accident. Back in '89, I was at a used record store in Georgetown (Washington, DC) called Orpheus Records, browsing the used CDs. As is the custom in any record store, they play music over the speakers. After going all the way around the store looking at other CDs, and hearing several of the tracks on this CD, I realized I was listening to a great record and just had to buy it.Although I've heard 54/40 compared to REM, this CD reminds me more of the best work done by Love and Rockets. But even that comparison is hard to make. 54/50 has made a very unique album with "Fight For Love" - I would even go so far as to say this is a 'concept' album. There is a fascinating layer of darkness to all the tracks, which matches the songwriting perfectly. Track after track, the band confronts this darkness, as if they're on a holy grail quest for good to triumph over evil. It reminds me of medieval folklore, with the good knight on his white horse in a dark valley of evil forces that must be struggled against.The first track starts the journey with "Here in my house, I have my door wide open to love. Walls in my house never move until I chase them out." Next, in KISSFOLK, we've left the house far behind: "I wander searching for souls, in a land where evil controls. Good to know you're hear in my heart, this keeps me from falling apart." Next, in MISS YOU, it seems like they tried to return, but we're unable. "You know where I'll be, you know where I've seen lately, to the land we call our own... Look for the inside, what was there I couldn't find, it seems the place is now a cave... And so I wandered onto the empty byways..."Track after track, the band is on a voyage through this dark valley, battling demons of the soul. In FIGHT FOR LOVE they shout out, "Don't call it love if there's hunger... Don't call it love if there's pain... Don't call it love if there's exile... Call it revolution!" In WALK TALK MADLY, Jesus comes riding into town "on his big white horse." In JOURNEY, the final track on the CD, "Here in this field, hope is still real. Sancho and I continue to fight for the honor of truth."Sancho? I would guess Sancho Panza, Don Quixote's sidekick. In another track, LAUGHING, they even mention 'windmills'! It's pretty obvious to me what's going on here.On most every track, the band creates a brilliant contrast between dark atmospherics with a forthright, optimistic message of hope. From KISSFOLK "... and when that change that happens to you, spins your head as you fall down.. can you trust in more tomorrows, a kiss will crown? Look into the sunrise, love will always shine.... I wanna kiss everything, I wanna feel the world. I wanna kiss everything, gonna wrap my arms around and not let go."However, the true masterpiece of this CD has to be "Baby Have Some Faith". Reading the lyrics alone does not do it justice, but this is how it starts:"It's a soulless town and everyone's down, everyone turns at everyone's sound and there's no heart.
Everyone knows survival will count, if the soul can be found in the days of doubt you won't be lost.
Baby have some faith... Good is as real as the evil.
Homeless bodies in our backyard, battered women and children scarred, the apathy here is amoral fear.
Influence and power in the wrong hands, resorting to torture, the prophet demands, teaches us nothing, and censors the news.
Baby have some faith... Daylight will follow the darkness
Baby have some faith... No one can steal you're day baby
I know what's aching you, you've got the love in you, and you'll get by... I know you'll make it through, you've got the love in you, and you'll get by..."After this, a beautiful soaring guitar lead, and then a bridge up in the music, and the song just goes AIRBORNE! I mean, it literally takes off from the surface of the Earth! I feel like I am floating above the ground, flying with them through the air. It's absolutely fantastic! To this day, it is the only song that is so beautiful, so positive, so emotional, that I actually cry listening to it. It's that good. And believe me, for a guy to admit that, it must be a pretty f@#$ing great song.While listening to 'Baby Have Some Faith' on the speakers in the record store, I couldn't wait any longer. I had to have this CD. I walked up the store clerk - who happened to be the owner of Orpheus Records. I said, "I'll buy the one you're playing." He said it wasn't for sale - he'd just bought it elsewhere, it's a brand new release. I said "No, you sell used CDs, that's why you play the CDs here, and I want it. How much?" Again, he told me it was not for sale, and where I could buy it. Again, I replied, "How much?" He could see I wasn't taking 'no' for an answer. Finally he caved in, but not without making a decent profit. "Fifteen dollars." I gave him a twenty. He gave me back five bucks and a CD I will always treasure."
A Classic Album by a Great Canadian Band!!!
Shawn P Kelly | Niagara - Canada | 05/29/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this album back in '89 when it first came out. I listened to it over and over again. Loved it then and still today!! It's a great album!! Every song rocks on this baby!! If you've never really listened to 54-40 before this is a great place to start. You won't be dissapointed. These guys are perhaps one of Canada's most underated bands. Good straight forward rock and roll."