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Articles Home » 1985 Articles » Stratus - 1985 Throwing Shapes
Stratus - 1985 Throwing Shapes

ARTIST: Stratus
ALBUM: Throwing Shapes
LABEL: Steel Trax (UK), Sony Japan
SERIAL: STEEL 31001, 28AP 2946
YEAR: 1985
CD REISSUE: 2008, Krescendo Records (UK), KRECCD21 * 2012, Rubicon (Japan), RBNCD-1510


LINEUP: Bernie Shaw - vocals * Tino Troy - guitars * Chris Troy - bass * Alan Nelson - keyboards * Clive Burr - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Back Street Loves * 02 Gimme Something * 03 Even If It Takes * 04 Give Me One More Chance * 05 Never Say No * 06 Run For Your Life * 07 Romancer * 08 Enough Is Enough * 09 So Tired

A band of licorice all-sorts, comprising members of Praying Mantis, Grand Prix and Iron Maiden. Initially, Stratus were first called Clive Burr's Escape, and had during their first incarnation put together some strong demo material, plus a handful of high profile gigs around London. the band at the time were label-less, and were competing in the same airspace as bands such as Paul Dianno's Battlezone, Airrace, Alaska, Rio, Tobruk, Lionheart and Shy. All great British pretenders to the throne. By the time CB's Escape had put pen to paper, the band had changed its name to Stratus. The Stratus sound tried very hard to be American, and succeeds in part, but you can't help but feel that this is as British as Rover or the Union Jack! Still, a very high profile band lineup, which saw the band signed to CBS/Sony in Japan, while on a smalltime label in the UK - Steel Trax.

The Songs
Stratus commence the album with 'Back Street Lovers', a ploddy opener with dodgy lyrics to match. Alan Nelson tries to ape Richard Bailey's keyboard lines off Alaska's superior 'Heart Of The Storm' album with the next Stratus track 'Gimme Something', perhaps the best track on 'Throwing Shapes'. 'Even If It Takes' is harder edged AOR and would probably rank as the second best effort here. Good track this one. 'Give Me One More Chance' is the LP's ballad, and is a so-so track to be honest. Much better is the pomp derived 'Run For Your Life', a track that'll feature on our radio feed one day soon. Something different is the punchy pomp of 'Romancer', think of a leaner version of Saga, particularly those parpy keys from Alan Nelson! The ivory-keeper stands tall again on 'Enough Is Enough', which has a clinical approach not unlike the stuff you'll hear on Gamma's albums '2' and '3'. The album finishes off with a flurry with (ironically) 'So Tired', but the track sounds horrible due to the torturous guitar tone that Tino Troy puts his guitar through. Yuck!

In Summary
In past writings and readings this album has been hailed as a bonafide classic. However, one listen will convince you that someone was bullshitting someone else when they said it. 'Throwing Shapes' isn't bad by any means but when compared to the some of the artists mentioned earlier in this article, it pales in comparison. A band caught up in the hubbaloo of 1984/85, and this is where it is best left. However, the two tracks which stand out are well worthy of a few plaudits!

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#1 | Jez on August 20 2008 18:50:14
This has just been re-issued on Krescendo and it is a nice one to have on CD finally. Pretty accurate review above, and whilst no means a 'Classic' album, it does contain some very nice moments and is well wort a listen
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