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Leyden Zar - 1985 Leyden Zar




ARTIST: Leyden Zar
ALBUM: Leyden Zar (85)
LABEL: Epic
SERIAL: AGE-2001
YEAR: 1985
CD REISSUE: 1992, Unidisc, AGEK-2001

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Pascal Mailloux - vocals, keyboards * Eddie Stevens - vocals, lead guitar * Paul Grondin - vocals, bass * Jacques Noel - rhythm guitars * Serge Gratton - drums, percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 It's Alright * 02 Sucking On Her Fingers * 03 Still In The Race * 04 I Want You Back * 05 Don't Talk About Love * 06 All To Myself * 07 Out Of Touch * 08 Communicate


Background
I kinda like this Canadian band. As mentioned in an earlier review of their 1981 debut album (see Related Articles below), I thought they were very underrated, but extremely good nonetheless. That debut was quite 'new wavy' for want of a better phrase, though still displaying some nifty and quirky AOR perhaps similar to The Tubes and Harlequin. Despite the passing of four years, the majority of the band stayed intact, except for the lead guitar role: Eddie Stevens coming in for the departed Brian Wilson. On this album, the band forge a slightly new direction, this time taking on a sound similar to fellow Canadians Body Electric and Straight Lines. They leave the quirky styles from yesteryear in the closet, this set of tunes an improvement on what was (for me at least) an already excellent debut.


The Songs
Only eight songs on offer.. and the thing that strikes me is the amount of keyboards that permeate the record. However, the music is quite tight, and also punchy and tough sounding in places courtesy of the rough-edge guitar lines from new recruit Stevens. Leading with 'It's Alright', the pomp keyboard intro and subsequent layers provide a great backdrop, but the next pairing of 'Sucking On Her Fingers' and 'Still In The Race' pick up the tempo, and allow the guitars to breathe more than most. The solos from Stevens on 'Still In The Race' are very tasty indeed! 'I Want You Back' provides us with lots of interesting sound effects (blips and blobs), the song itself isn't that good though. 'Don't Talk About Love ' pushes along with mid-eighties pomp, not unlike a lightweight version of UK rockers Grand Prix. 'All To Myself' is very hi-tech, the arrangement featuring an array of keyboard textures, sharp guitar parts and angst-riddled vocals. The album highlight for me is the brash sounding 'Out Of Touch', providing us a glimpse of what this band were truly capable of within the AOR context. The closer 'Communicate' is a Saga like attempt at crossover prog/rock, which sounds pretty good actually.


In Summary
Released on a local Canadian label Unidisc, the album was produced by seminal guitar hero Walter Rossi, but unfortunately, it disappeared as soon as the thing was released. That seemed to be a familiar tale for many Canadian outfits, just ask Everest and Garnett Ford, they'll tell you a similar story. Not to be completely erased from history, the CD has recently been re-released on CD and is now available at the time of writing (late May 2006).


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Comments

#1 | richardb on June 08 2008 09:00:43
Much better than the debut (though still quirky). Some great guitar work from Eddie Stevens.

Richard B

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