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Articles Home » 1981 Articles » Klaatu - 1981 Magentalane
Klaatu - 1981 Magentalane

ARTIST: Klaatu
ALBUM: Magentalane
LABEL: Capitol
YEAR: 1981
CD REISSUE: 1995, Permanent Press, PPCD 52701 * 2007, Bullseye (Canada), BLR-CD-2516


LINEUP: Dee Long - vocals, keyboards, guitar * Terry Draper - vocals, drums, percussion, trombone * John Woloschuk - vocals, keyboards, bass, acoustic guitar

TRACK LISTING: 01 A Million Miles Away * 02 The Love Of A Woman * 03 Blue Smoke * 04 I Don't Want To Go Home * 05 December Dream * 06 Magentalane * 07 At The End Of The Rainbow * 08 Mrs Toad's Cookies * 09 Maybe I'll Move to Mars * 10 Magentalane (It Feels So Good)


Some of you may remember the hubbub surrounding Klaatu and their 1976 debut album. Thanks to a New England disc jockey claiming the band was actually a Beatles reunion in disguise, Klaatu found themselves in a swirl of controversy and although the truth came out eventually, the band were something of an enigma hiding their true identities over the course of several albums of Beatle-esque pop until 1980's much-maligned 'Endangered Species' release credited the trio of Terry Draper, Dee Long and John Woloschuk. Based in Toronto, Klaatu were dropped by Capitol following that album, but resigned to a Canadian only deal for their final LP 'Magentalane'. Studio animals to a fault, Klaatu never toured until 1981 and with members of Max Webster filling out the band, they were sandwiched between headliners Prism and opening act Straight Lines on a tour of Western Canada which by all accounts found Prism loosing half its audience following Klaatu's set. Not a good sign for the supposed main event. A New Years Eve date in Edmonton with Toronto and Martha & The Muffins followed and sporadic club gigs found the group on the road well into 1982, but Dee Long's distaste for touring and other issues spelled the end of Klaatu while leaving a world-wide cult following in their wake.

The Songs
Some say 'Magentalane' was a return to The Beatles sound of the first album, but in my opinion 'the fab four' can easily be found in each Klaatu release, just in different degrees. Like Badfinger and Stackridge, Klaatu had reverence for The Beatles yet found their own musical path. I interviewed Dee Long a few years back, parts of which were sourced for 2005's 'Sunset 1973-1981' rarities collection booklet, and while Liverpool's favourite sons were an obvious influence so was Supertramp and 10cc and you'll find plenty of that sound on this record. 'A Million Miles Away' kicks off the album and is very reminiscent of the stuff found on George Harrison's breezy 1979 self-titled album while 'Blue Smoke' is definitely in the jaunty Stackridge school of pop and is the most rockin' tune here, yet for the most part this is album is made up sweet pop vignettes. Songs like 'December Dream', 'At the End Of The Rainbow', the charming 'Mrs. Toad's Cookies' (my personal favourite) and the title track find the band in an alternate story book universe owing as much to Enid Blyton as 'Yellow Submarine'.

In Summary
In the years since the break-up, Klaatu's reputation has grown among fans of classic pop and in 2005 the group reformed for an acoustic set at 'KlaatuKon' held in Toronto where fans were treated to a number of surprises including the incomplete 1978 animated film based on Klaatu's music 'Happy New Year, Planet Earth'. I was hoping to attend, but never made it due to other obligations. Yeah, I'm a hopeless fan boy when it comes to Klaatu, but for the uninitiated picking up 'Magentalane' or any other of the bands albums are worthy additions to any serious pop collection.

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#1 | tonissive on October 11 2009 17:26:40
good and sad underrated album!
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