by: The Raspberries

It's hard to picture power pop masters the Raspberries without singer Eric Carmen, but that's exactly what happened to the group during the early 21st century. After an attempt at a reunion (with Carmen) failed to materialize during the late '90s, the other Raspberries -- original member/guitarist Wally Bryson, plus latter-day members Scott McCarl (guitar) and Dave Smalley (bass) -- decided to go through with a reunion despite Carmen's non-participation. Filling in the gaps in the studio were Los Angeles-based session man Brian Barham on keyboards and the Tearaways' Jesse Benenati on drums, which resulted in the first all-new studio recording credited to the Raspberries in 26 years, 2000's Refreshed. Wisely not straying far from the group's original sound (a perfect blend of pop melody and riff rock), the trio successfully resuscitates the classic Raspberries sound over six tracks. With the songwriting credits equally distributed between all three members, Refreshed shows that Carmen wasn't the only talent in the band. That said, you can't help but think what the tracks would have sounded like if Carmen was in on the fun as well. Highlights include the Beatlesque "When Is Your Dream?," the up-tempo "Pop Teasers," and the obligatory love song, "Someone Like You." Refreshed is a fine little memento for longtime fans who wondered what the Raspberries would sound like in the 21st century. ~ Greg Prato

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