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Channel - 1984 Channel



ARTIST: Channel
ALBUM: Channel
LABEL: Epic
SERIAL: BFE 39260
YEAR: 1984
CD REISSUE: 2009, Rock Candy Records, CANDY050
SPONSOR: Rock Candy Records

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Robert Fleischman - vocals * Tony Berg - guitars * Trey Thompson - bass * Gary Ferguson - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 I'm By Your Side * 02 The Way I Feel * 03 Made In America * 04 Is It Someone * 05 It's Not Enough * 06 Wear White * 07 Seen It On Your Face * 08 When I Look Back * 09 The Touch * 10 Girls Like You

WEBLINKS: www.robertfleischman.com


Background
Channel were a short-lived band with an interesting sound, and a hybrid infusion of personnel who came at this project with a mix of ideas and backgrounds. Fleischman of course was better known as the equally short-lived vocalist with AOR heroes Journey before being replaced by Steve Perry. He then went on to release a weak solo album called 'Perfect Stranger' during 1979. Thompson and Ferguson had appeared in the band Black Rose featuring the likes of Cher and Les Dudek. Musically the band ply a high-tech style of AOR that has crossover potential. Very commercial, with a good production. On their rockier moments they sound like an AOR version of King Kobra. When they tone it down, they sound like The Police, The Outfield and Novo Combo all rolled into one. Certainly an interesting mix, and I can guarantee that Epic would've had great difficulty trying to pitch this album to the general public. The high pitched vocals of Fleischman though grating and overbearing at times actually sounds OK here, but the contrast of his vocal on top of this musical construct is admittedly.. rather unique.


The Songs
Channel recorded the album in the UK, but the end result is still very American sounding. Starting out with 'I'm By Your Side', the band arrive with a very big drum sound, humming bass lines, and a strong presence. It takes a while for the band to break into a recognisable musical sequence but when they do, they sound impressive. 'The Way I Feel' is probably the pick of the bunch on this album. The guitar sound is great, the track itself could sit quite easily on Novo Combo's lovely 'Animation Generation' album from 1982. Obviously, 'Made In America' is the token radio attempt while 'Is It Someone' meanders in semi-ballad mode, until the excellent chorus wakes it up from a temporary slumber. 'It's Not Enough' starts off well enough but those annoying xylophone effects through the middle annoy the hell out of me. 'Wear White' displays the Novo Combo/The Police comparison to a tee. It's a sound I like a lot, while the vocal delivery from Fleischman is smooth. The tempo accelerates on 'Seen It On Your Face', and contains the same sort of energy witnessed by the likes of Eddie And The Tide for instance. I quite liked the jangly guitar approach of 'The Touch' - again, use Novo Combo as a reference point.


In Summary
As mentioned, the band were short-lived. Fleischman hooked up with Vinnie Vincent Invasion for a short stint. He disappeared off the map for a while, but reappeared with a solo album in 2002 on the Frontiers label. Berg has appeared as a guitarist and producer on many albums since. He has also represented the music industry in an A&R role. Ferguson has since turned up providing the back-end role for the likes of Gary Moore and Glenn Hughes. Channel, one of the most requested albums for a CD re-release, duly surfaced on reissue label Rock Candy Records during April 2009.


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Comments
#1 | reyno-roxx on January 23 2009 20:09:37
Dragged this one out for a play tonight and realised how much this album pre-dated what Diving For Pearls would release five years later.
One of the true underrated classics.
#2 | Carl Noonan on April 14 2009 01:44:03
Classic and a real pity they only did the one record.
#3 | sabace on October 03 2011 14:32:40
great, for once an lp that lives up to the hype!

this reminds me alot of the RPM lp 'phonogenic' which was also recorded in England, both lps are influenced heavily by what was current in UK at the time . The guitars are heavily influenced by the police and U2 . The track 'in your face ' could be an outtake from HUGHES / THRALL . Fleischman's vocals ( ex journey / asia / vv invasion ) are the best of his career (subsitute from vv invasion excepted ) . lost classic for sure .
#4 | swazi on November 14 2011 12:58:56
Will need to drag this one out again. I haven't heard it since RC released it officially on CD. Kudos to them for doing so! A classic, indeed!
#5 | aaasreg on April 20 2015 18:07:57
Someone called them an AOR machine. That's truly correct
 
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