JAVA – Change Of Heart [recorded 1987 / released 2017] *HQ*
You’ve got to love a story with a happy ending. Once upon a time, there was a band from Hampshire, UK called JAVA that nearly made it. They blagged a few decent London support gigs and got some publicity from Kerrang with singer, Rosella Santoro, featuring in the ‘Ladykillers’ section alongside Lisa Dominique and others, and they even got a track on the ‘Powercuts’ compilation.
Java did record an album called ‘Change Of Heart’ but by now it was the congested scene of 1987 with a lot of truly great albums coming out, and theirs was never released.
Happily, 30 years later in 2017, drummer Darran Bridge (currently in Tapper & Bridge band) retrieved a copy of tapes from Rosella’s attic and he managed to get it spruced up and released on CD via Escape Music. They even started working on some new songs but it all fell apart again.
After 30 years shelved, the record from this Brit female-fronted AOR / Melodic Rock act finally saw the light of day.
Java started off as a covers band in 1987 but they were soon writing their own material which wasn’t what the clubs back then wanted. Founding members Rosella Santoro (vocals/keyboards) and partner Rob Deegan (bass) then set about looking for like-minded musicians to make their AOR dreams come true; enter Darran Bridge (drums) and Martin Latham (guitar).
Java soon became firm favorites on the London Rock scene, playing many live dates and filming a video for their song ‘Helpless’ which would also end up on the ‘Kerrang!’ album sampler ‘Powercuts’.
Not long after this, they entered the studio in the summer of 1987 – with Guy Bidmead (Whitesnake, Motorhead, etc.) at the production helm – to start work on their debut album.
Unfortunately, even with this strong record in the can to shop around to the labels of the day, nothing happened and that elusive record deal never arrived. They soldiered on for a while, with Santoro and Deegan especially keeping positive about things, but eventually, the band split up.
However, for lovers of obscure ’80s AOR rejoice, finally this lost 80s album sees the light of day in all its remastered glory.
As soon as I played it, “Change Of Heart” took me straight back to those ’80s days when bands like Saraya, the melodic era of Girlschool, Laos, If Only (Jackie Bodimead) and alike ruled the female fronted Melodic Rock scene.
What you have here is a very fine example of classy Melodic Rock with a woman at the mic, full of great songs and quite wonderful musicianship.
Just lend an ear to ‘Helpless’, ‘Forever And Ever’, the jumping ‘Mama’s Boy’, ‘You Really Do Know’ (with its superb guitar solo) and the big ballad ‘For Those That Love You Still’ and wonder to yourself just why this lot didn’t get anywhere when some acts with half the talent went all the way (another one of music’s great mysteries).
Collectors of classy ’80s AOR / Melodic Rock will be grinning from ear to ear at its release, and fans of those genres could do a lot worse than to get a copy for themselves.
“Change Of Heart” is thirty-five years old now, but it still sounds as fresh as if it came out last week – good music will always win out in the end.
01 – Forever and Ever
02 – Change of Heart
03 – Helpless
04 – For Those Who Love You Still
05 – Hellraiser
06 – Can You Get Enough
07 – You and I
08 – You Really Do Know
09 – This Is the Time
10 – Mama’s Boy
Rosella Santoro: Vocals, Keyboards
Martin Latham: All Guitars and backing vocals
Rob Deegan: Bass and backing vocals
Darran Bridge: Drums and backing vocals
Produced by: Guy Bidmead (Whitesnake, Grand Prix)
Engineered by: Guy Bidmead & Dennis Herman
Recorded 1987 at Chestnut studios in Farnham, Surrey