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Force 10 - 1981 Force 10

ARTIST: Force 10
ALBUM: Force 10
LABEL: Warner Bros
YEAR: 1981
CD REISSUE: 2008, Wounded Bird, WOU-3557


LINEUP: Griff Stevens - vocals, woodwinds, guitars; computer grunts * Tom Brighton - guitars, vocals * Rick White - keyboards, vocals * Larry Tuttle - bass, vocals * Jeff Swisstack - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Watanabe * 02 Hypnotized * 03 I Feel So Amused * 04 Pictures Of My favourite Things * 05 Mountains Of Love * 06 Show Me Your Love * 07 Bastinado * 08 My Future * 09 I'll See You

The Glory Daze site is a big fan of the American pomp band Russia. Better known in the Northwest Pacific area as the band Sorcerers Apprentice, the band changed names and moved down to Los Angeles. Their one-off album from 1980 is reviewed here, but sadly that incarnation only lasted the distance for that one album. Thankfully, the boys returned a year later under a new moniker Force 10. It appears also that singer Griff Stevens has diversified his musical array of skills from playing railroad springs (as noted on the credits on the Russia album) to supplying computer grunts for this one. Whatever the heck computer grunts means is probably best left for Griff to describe! lol. What was in the name change then? Hopefully the political climate of the day wasn't a precursor to change. I could understand it if the band had been operating in the climate of fear back in the day of Joe McCarthy. Heck, the boys could still be camping out at Guantanamo Bay for being so cheeky. No, the reason they changed names was to get the mentally challenged members of the American public off their back, who probably thought the Cold War was still in existence.

The Songs
Force 10 then, is as wacky for humor as The Tubes and J Geils Band were, though not exactly duplicating their musical style, this time around they're following a band like Air Raid instead. The album mixes it up, the offbeat 'Watanabe' commences things, complete with stabbing pianos, new-wave styled synth pieces and some stinging lead guitar from Tom Brighton. 'Hypnotized' offers more in the way of the familiar quirky Russia sound, the synth lead through the middle is both zany and cool! The dabbles you hear on 'I Feel So Amused' remind you of of their Pacific Northwest cousins Aviary. Even more charming is the change-a-minute pomp of 'Pictures Of My favourite Things', again mixing quirky, offbeat, interesting and manic all in the space of 6 minutes. With 'Mountains Of Love' the track is punctuated with stops and starts, but the Styx like keyboard passage will invoke memories of their Dennis De Young days. Wurlitzer piano parts precedes 'Show Me Your Love', the overall song a regimented pomp workout. Another interesting track is 'Bastinado', taking its queue from all those aforementioned bands, the quirky pomp even has an element of sixties era melody threaded throughout, but the blazing guitar solo thankfully centers this back in the eighties. Hearing this you'll be singing 'its a cold world .. it's a cold world..' for days on end! Restrained power is the prevailing feature on 'My Future', musically akin to Saga on a good day, this one features an array of keyboard and percussion effects. The band finishes up with 'I'll See You'. The arrangement is quite a busy one. Instrumentation and effects are all over the place. Perhaps the musical equivalent of a busy street in New York?

In Summary
Despite the inventiveness of Force 10's music, the band could hardly expect to witness any form of commercial success with it because (for its time) it was so out there. The band failed to materialise any more output as a result. Still a great bit of pomp history for those who want to seek this band (along with Russia) out.

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#1 | gdazegod on April 03 2006 22:36:41
For years I have wondered why Force 10 and Russia could not have been bundled into a 2on1 CD compilation. What would it take for a label like Wounded Bird Records to take up the challenge? As they do have unfettered access to Warner Bros recordings from years gone by. Perhaps a petition to Wounded Birds might be in order.. Also, if anyone wants to discuss the merits of both albums with someone directly related to the band, then contact Griff Stevens who is a regular visitor here. His username is: Meatbuick. Go to it! Grin
#2 | Eric on July 08 2011 12:58:02
Progressive power pop with a capital P. Lot's of Supertramp weaving in and out of the band's sound too. One of my favorite albums...
#3 | super80boy on July 04 2013 18:40:15
Quirky, off-center, erratic, offbeat, bizarre, oddball AOR that is highly entertaining stuff. There are progressive elements intertwined within the set as well. I can totally see why this ended up straight in the bargain bins. No one wanted to take a chance on a group who put the AOR mainstream formula on its head and experimented. A cool obscurity.
#4 | chewie on May 21 2016 17:10:36
Wounded Bird finally did release those two albums, but separately. I don't mind at all. Nice to have the cds along with my lps.
#5 | gdazegod on May 21 2016 22:31:41
Years later, I am still a huge fan of Russia and Force 10, and while we're at it, Arthur Offen, Flag and Airraid.
#6 | melodiapositiva on December 31 2017 18:00:43
Although not as good as the Russia album this is also very good , it took me more time to like it ,but now i appreciate it a lot more .
I love this kind of bands where every song is an "adventure" and you donĀ“t know what to expect on the next song .clap

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