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Voyager - 1979 Halfway Hotel

ARTIST: Voyager (UK)
ALBUM: Halfway Hotel
LABEL: Elektra
SERIAL: 6370 429
YEAR: 1979


LINEUP: Paul French - vocals, keyboards * Paul Hirsch - guitars, keyboards * Chris Hook - bass * John Marter - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Judas * 02 ESP * 03 Standing Still * 04 4-2-4 Or 4-4-2 * 05 Straight Actors * 06 Total Amnesia * 07 Halfway Hotel * 08 Captain Remus * 09 I Love It

The Songs
Voyager's 1979 debut album, 'Halfway Hotel', kicks into life with the piano stabs of 'Judas', a mid-tempo melodic (hard) rock tune. Featuring catchy melody lines throughout, the opener should strike a chord with anyone into late 1970s/early 1980s melodic rock ... excellent stuff! Track #2, 'ESP', is a comparatively slower and softer tune, but the melody and the arrangement are both pleasant, and it builds nicely towards more intensity by the end of the song. 'Standing Still' is a further slow mid-tempo tune, a tempo the band seems very comfortable with, and it also sports a nice chorus. '4-2-4 or 4-4-2?' starts off with a short, dramatic intro and evolves into a slow, moody almost Pink Floyd-ish song, but I find the chorus could have been a tad more distinct and that the intro riff could have been used to greater effect in the song. For side 1's final track, the band belt out the slow boogie of 'Straight Actors', which features characteristic big backing vocals and playful piano lines.

The album's tour de force (in my ears, anyway) is up next: the uptempo 'Total Amnesia', driven by a showtime/Vaudeville-like piano and some excellent lead- and harmony vocal antics. Humouristic, corny and quirky to the bone, I would argue that this song alone makes the album worthy of purchase! The album's title track, on the other hand, provided the band with a modest hit, and judging by the distinct piano intro to the catchy chorus via the lush vocal arrangement, I'm not surprised - it's a pretty good pop tune. 'Captain Remus' delves into longer, more progressive territory, but the melodies are nice and I also like the slower, mellower synth lead passages. Following an uptempo final section, it's time for the equally beefy intro of 'I Love It'. The verses of the latter are more poppy, but the track's chorus is about as rock'n'roll as Voyager would get on this album. Not bad at all, and a good choice as the closer of the album.

In Summary
'Halfway Hotel' (the album) strikes me as somewhat uneven, but it is also well performed, arranged and produced, and it does grow with each listen. As suggested earlier, if for nothing else, then buy this album to add 'Total Amnesia' to your collection - it's one of the most enjoyable quirky pomp rock exercises I've come across in years! As for availability, the good news is that Voyager themselves have released a compilation CD, 'Epic Journeys', which features 8 of the debut album's 9 songs (omitting 'Standing Still'), plus tracks from the two final Voyager releases, as well as a new song.

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#1 | rostoned on January 24 2008 00:52:07
you can listen to the full streaming of 4 tracks off the above rare LP (including the pomp xtravaganza Total Amnesia) here

this way then u can decide if it's worth to buy it or not.... thanx myspace! lol
#2 | trillion1999 on October 12 2011 18:09:24
I love Total Amnesia and Halfway Hotel.Love the video for Halfway Hotel as well.Hipgnosis-genius Storm Thorgersen I believe was the director.Hopefully everything by Paul French and the boys have made it to CD by now.I do not know how I discovered the song Halfway Hotel but your uploading of Total Amnesia was the first time I heard that song so thank you very much Geir!in love
#3 | Eric on October 12 2011 20:31:22
All three Voyager albums were released by Air Mail a year or two ago- expensive!
#4 | melodiapositiva on October 16 2017 17:04:20
Ok album,but the second one "act of love" is very good,totally recommended for aor prog fans....
#5 | gdazegod on October 17 2017 18:24:41
I have 'Act Of Love', picked it up earlier this year, the 1981 album is very hard to find.

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