Label: EMI America - ST.240803 • Format: Vinyl LP, Album • Country: Australasia • Genre: Rock, Pop • Style: Pop Rock
John Waite 's second solo album, No Brakesreached the Top Ten, almost entirely on the strength of the song "Missing You," which made a truly perfect single. It was a hell of an act to follow, and Waite couldn't quite deliver, at least until he reteamed with former Baby Jonathan Cain Aires De Bohemia - Various - Flamenco Lounge & Chill the late '80s with Bad English.
Then, he returned to the top of the charts with "When I See Sleepwalker - Shawn Phillips - Second Contribution Smile," but during those years in the wilderness -- roughly through -- he released two albums, 's Mask of Smiles and 's Rover's Return.
While it's true that Mask of Smiles feels like an effort to capitalize on "Missing You" -- pretty successfully, actually -- Rover's Return is an attempt to bring Waite back to the top of the charts that just doesn't work. It's like these two albums are the flip sides to one coin -- the first illustrates how professional craft can be utterly engaging, the second illustrates that it can be a dead end.
That's not to say that the record is a complete failure, because there are portions that work quite well -- the surging opener "These Times Are Hard Encircled - John Waite - Rovers Return Lovers" is good radio rock, and Waite 's voice always sounds good in this polished setting.
Still, it's a little stiff and predictable, never quite reaching a level that's interesting, either as a period artifact or a piece of professional craft.
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