Looking back, it seems fairly clear why the Power Station
's long-awaited second album made little impression on a mass audience upon its release in 1996. Not because the group delivered a bad record, because Living in Fear
finds the group at its sleekest, but because the timing was bad. While the record didn't make much of an impact -- it went virtually unnoticed in America, gained some favorable attention in the mainstream, non-weekly British music press -- they remarkably turned out a record that is a fitting sequel to their first album. Yes, there are a couple of missteps along the way -- ironically enough, the hard-driving, neo-metallic title track is one of them, and the whole mid-section when they rock hard and heavy generally sounds a little stiff -- but on the whole, the group sounds tight and professional in the best possible sense. This is particularly true when they play up melodic grooves, as they do on the first-rate opener "Notoriety." The entire first stretch of the album is pretty strong, from "Scared" to the mildly sleazy grind of "She Can Rock It," reminiscent of lead vocalist Robert Palmer
's late-'80s highlights. In fact, if Power Station
had delivered this album in 1988, when Palmer
was riding the Riptide wave, it probably would have scaled the charts, but as it stands, it was ignored. Those dedicated listeners that seek it out now will find that its fate was unjust, but better than that, they'll find a nifty arena rock record that wasn't made for the time it was released, yet, in retrospect, certainly sounds like a worthy successor to the Power Station
's 1985 blockbuster.