Illustrator: Ian Wright.
Photographers: George Hurrell; Simon Fowley.
With Strange Frontier, Roger Taylor seemed to try and cast himself as a British version of Bruce Springsteen, writing a set of songs that were similar to the gutsy and anthemic work of the American rock hero. The similarity went as far as the lyrics, many of which focused on working-class politics. Taylor even throws in a Springsteen cover, "Racing in the Street," for good measure. The differences between Taylor's music here and Springsteen's lie both in Taylor's production, which added some artsier ideas such as the symphonic break in "Killing Time," and in his vocals, which stray more into melodramatic territory than Springsteen ever has. For the most part, the concept works. The album is far from original, but Taylor is an accomplished enough songwriter that he doesn't come off like a poor man's Springsteen. The cover of Dylan's "Masters of War" is a bit bombastic but much of the rest of the album is fairly convincing with the title track and "Man on Fire" being among the highlights. Interestingly enough, Taylor's music is far more reliant on drum machines and synthesizers here than on his previous Fun in Space. ~ Geoff Orens