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Articles Home » 1987 Articles » Return - 1987 To The Top
Return - 1987 To The Top

ARTIST: Return
ALBUM: To The Top
SERIAL: ARLP 1505 (LP), ARCD 1505 (CD)
YEAR: 1987


LINEUP: Knut Erik Ostgard - vocals, keyboards * Steinar Hagen - guitar, vocals * Tore Larsen - bass, vocals * Oyvind Hakonsen - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 To The Top * 02 I Should Have Known Better * 03 Take Care Of Your Woman * 04 So Many Times * 05 Caught In The Middle * 06 Be Good * 07 Angel Of Delight * 08 Half A Man * 09 How Can You Tell * 10 Sing Me A Song


Norwegian band Return are another Scandi outfit that have been strangely missing from the hallowed virtual halls of GDAZE. Until now that is. They've released many albums, but it is with 'To The Top' from 1987 that their career started off. Starting life off in 1980, and from the Norwegian town of Stange (northeast of the capital Oslo), the band were originally called Polish (as in the cleaning fluid, not the citizens of Poland.. lol), but as they developed their sound they changed names to Return and haven't looked back. Return, as with many Scandi bands starting out, entered local rock band competitions, and ended up winning the Norwegian Champions of Rock during 1985. By 1987, they released this album as their debut on a small label. By the end of the end of the year they had signed with Sony Norway. Lead singer Knut Erik Ostgard has a voice that combines Robin McAuley with Stage Dolls Torsten Flakne. An acquired taste, but generally it's ok. The band move equally between melodic rock songs and ballads. For the latter they are pretty good, knowing what it takes to wimp out big time. As their career would show, they got better with each studio album that they released - and there were a few of them!

The Songs
The lead off title track isn't the best introduction to the band. Something else should've been used in my opinion. 'I Should Have Known Better (Sheila)' is an improvement, ironically this song was released back in 1985 at the time of their Champions Of Rock success. 'Take Care Of Your Woman' is a straight-ahead track with a Bryan Adams tinge to it. Return seem to excel at slow tender ballads, 'So Many Times' and the excellent 'Sing Me A Song' are two examples, the latter making a dent into the Norwegian charts believe it or not. Elsewhere, the band show their promise on the pumping 'Caught In The Middle', the big sounding AOR of 'Be Good' which could be Autograph on a better day (nice track though), the fast-paced hi-tech sounding 'Angel Of Delight' while the catchy choruses of 'Half A Man' prove Return can write a decent song or two.

In Summary
A good debut, which due to it's scarcity in the market place, goes for big bucks on Ebay. The following year the band released their follow up 'Attitudes', which saw them signed to Sony Norway, where they stayed for the next five years. Look out for some more Return reviews in the future, as we've only touched the surface with this band.

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#1 | dtabachn on April 29 2016 19:26:12
Great scandi rock. Return made it big into the norwegian charts with their first five albums. Agree with George, they excel at heartfelt ballads. One of the few bands with the guts to start an album with a ballad!
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