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Real rock & roll isn’t dead; you just don’t hear it on the radio.

Lifeline is one of those musically ambitious (think Faith No More) rock bands that symbolized AOR in the late ’80s and early ’90s, before grunge stepped in and kicked out everybody who knew more than two chords. Lead by Tyrone Williamson, Lifeline is actually a solo project with backup musicians. And, truthfully, it sounds like it. There isn’t a distinct style or a trademark formula that dominates Cry. MTV will most likely be cold to this album, which is fine with me.

“Cry for the Earth (C.F.T.E.)” opens the album with lyrics that attack George W. Bush’s policies on the environment. Such political statements in rock have become too rare in these days of macho angst. In the ’80s, the damage that humans were doing to the environment — and the obliviousness and lack of empathy from the Republicans — was plastered all over the media. For some reason, that has sadly faded into the void. Does anybody even remember when Earth Day is?

Included here are demos from 1990, which aren’t that different from the new material on this record, since Williamson is locked into his progressive rock icons: King’s X, Pink Floyd, Queensryche, etc. This is strong, intellectually satisfying material.

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