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I-Ten - 1983 Taking A Cold Look

ALBUM: Taking A Cold Look
YEAR: 1983
CD REISSUE: 2000, Sony Special Products, 55009-2 * 2009, Rock Candy Records, CANDY046


LINEUP: Tom Kelly - vocals, guitars, keyboards * Billy Steinberg - vocals, guitars

Guests: Steve Lukather - guitars, keyboards * Alan Pasqua, David Paich, Steve Porcaro - keyboards * Dennis Bellfield - bass * Mike Baird - drums * Richard Page - backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Taking A Cold Look * 02 Quicksand * 03 Alone * 04 Workin' For A Livin' * 05 Lonely In Each Others Arms * 06 I Don't Wanna Lose You * 07 Time to Say Goodbye * 08 The Easy Way Out * 09 I've Been Crying * 10 Pressing My Luck

Now we are right into classic AOR territory, and that's what we're here for isn't it? I now have this classic from 1983 on CD after having only heard it on about a tenth generation tape. There are two words that describe this album, 'bloody' and 'essential'. Yep, you must own this album, no self respecting AOR fan should be without it. From the era we all love (the prime period of AOR, 1980-1989), this legendary release has all the hallmarks of a classic, with fabulous songs, breathtaking melody, and brilliant production by what was at the time the industry's best.. Keith Olsen. This one off project is the brainchild of both Steinberg and Kelly, who are master songwriters, responsible for some of the more memorable tunes over the past few decades. It features top session musicians from that era, most notably Steve Lukather and Alan Pasqua who seemed to have been sleeping around with quite a few of the top AOR artists of the generation. It's an album of chilling class and features everything a dedicated AOR fan craves for. Strong rockers, atmospheric ballads and bits in between.

The Songs
Starting off is the title track, a mid paced gem strong on refrains. Honeymoon Suite also covered this on their 'Racing After Midnight' album too. It features a cracking guitar based chorus that just sits in your head. 'Quicksand' is one of my all time favourites. Slightly quirky, it starts off quiet and laid back before guitars and keyboard interplay hit centre stage. The overlaid vocals are just to die for while the song is supremely melodic. 'Alone' is as classy a ballad as you'll hear, and the version Heart did on their 'Bad Animals' album from 1987 was excellent too. The guitar burst on this version is a deadringer for prime time Boston. 'Workin For A Lovin' is another slice of quirky pop rock that positively bounces along. 'Lonely In Each Others Arms' is a sparse affair, topped off by a pumping synth bass, but is basically a keyboard workout set to your standard ballad. 'I Don't Want To Lose You' set things straight, and is a scorching guitar romp. This was also covered by REO Speedwagon on their 'Hits' album. 'Time To Say Goodbye' comes across as an AOR 'Bee Gees'. Upon closer inspection will reveal all, especially the vocal fluctuations. 'The Easy Way Out' is a very commercial cut representative of the era, similar to Robert Tepper and Stan Bush and Barrage. 'I've Been Crying' is a plaintive ditty while 'Pressing My Luck' is another sterling mid paced rocker with great harmony vocals and a strong chorus.

In Summary
I cannot reiterate enough how much you need this in your collection, and now that it has been reissued on CD by Songhaus Music during 2000, there is simply no excuse. You will be pleasantly surprised by how little this has dated after seventeen years. It easily slots into my All Time Top 30. Now, where's my remote .. press play, select track 02 'Quicksand' ... ahh timeless..

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#1 | rostoned on April 24 2008 22:26:53
have a soft spot for 'Time to say goodbye', I believe it's Richard Page on those incredible backing/harmony vocals. The voice of a God

Billy Thermal, which was Steinberg's band before i-TEN, had a song, 'I'm Gonna Follow You, featured in the compilation of american power pop unsigned bands called "Sharp Cuts: New Music By American Bands" released by Planet in 1980. This song was later covered by Pat Benatar on her 'Crimes of Passion' and became a hit . Apparently Billy Thermal had another release, an EP, on Planet in 1979 and a later rerelease (of all their recordings?) on Kinetic Records but couldn't locate a copy of either. Reyno can you help with more details on this EP or the rerelease?
#2 | Jez on June 13 2008 08:57:33
The names of Kelly/Steinberg have been synonymous with many a great AOR song over the years, so a whole album full of stuff is pretty much heaven for most of us. 'Alone' as mentioned is better known as a Heart track, 'Taking A Cold Look' as a Honeymoon Suite song, and I must admit I prefer their versions to these, but that is probably due to familiarity rather than anything else. The line up of musos is incredible aswell-Most of the Toto guys, Pasqua (Giant, Van Stephenson), Belfield & Baird- Richard Page (Mr.Mister) - brilliant stuff.
#3 | richardb on June 13 2008 09:20:32
A great album and a superb vocal performance by Tom Kelly. The overall mood though is quite melancholic. So I wouldn't recommend listening to it if you're in a depressed state of mind!

Richard B
#4 | super80boy on September 20 2015 15:30:58
While this one off studio outing didn't produce any hit singles, its quite the memorable effort by an exquisitely talented team. The cold minimalistic 'Lonely In Each Other's Arms' is a favorite as well as each respective side lead off, the title track and 'I Don't Want To Lose You', each just high class melodic AOR gems.
#5 | code4 on October 13 2015 12:03:22
The rocker 'Time To Say Goodbye' (with it's clever placement of backing vocals appearing with the second pass of the chorus which surely help make it so catchy) is my favourite on this cd. A true treasure. My second favorite 'Lonely In Each Other's arms' which sounds like a lost 80's chart hit. That said most of this highly regarded album is good or very good (with only a few exceptions). They offer up a stunning demonstration of their song 'Alone' (later to become a hit for the band Heart) and 'Quicksand' is another musically stellar one even if making any sense of the lyrics is a tough job. I don't think they were trying for good lyrics on much of this album. Take for example a musically good song like 'I've Been Crying'. I presume it was meant as a youthful tale of love lost when i hear that opening revelation of 'It was raining and the wind came and blew the rain away, there's no telling now just the way that i feel today'
#6 | reyno-roxx on July 31 2016 14:11:20
I have recently discovered that Billy Steinberg's first band Billy Thermal have had their debut mini album reissued in the last couple of years with lots of additional tracks - including the original versions of the songs Pat Benatar covered - on an expanded CD reissue through Omnivore.
#7 | gdazegod on February 20 2018 02:59:28
Yes, we have mentioned Billy Thermal in their own review on GDM. Looking at this review, it was written by one of my Kiwi friends Damon Mudgway, nearly twenty years ago. The actual review date (2005) is not entirely accurate as Mudgey was living and working in Auckland around 1999, when I was living there around the same time.

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