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Articles Home » 1981 Articles » Darkstar (Canada) - 1981 Darkstar
Darkstar (Canada) - 1981 Darkstar

ARTIST: Darkstar (Canada)
ALBUM: Darkstar
LABEL: Avatar
YEAR: 1981


LINEUP: Nino Palazzolo - lead & rhythm guitars, acoustic guitar, keyboards, guitar synthesizer * Michael Kohuch - bass, acoustic & electric guitars, keyboards * Bob Stephenson - lead & harmony vocals, rhythm guitar, lead guitar ('For Yesterday')

Guest: Brian Doerner - drums, percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 Rainbow Sunsets * 02 Mind Teazer * 03 I Was Made For You * 04 Private Eye * 05 For Yesterday * 06 On My Way * 07 Dreams Can't Be Wrong * 08 Time And Time Again * 09 Gypsy Rover * 10 Reflections

Here's an interesting and rare outfit you'll never find details for on the Internet. Believe me, I tried, but only got scant details in return. This trio is called Darkstar, and they originated from Windsor, Canada, which (to you and I) is essentially the east-east side of Detroit; over the the Canadian side of the border at least. They should not be confused with the band of the same name who came from Toronto and were operating at around about the same timeframe. Of the personnel, Nino Palazzolo is the one with most details, having been involved with bands as far back as the mid 70's. Darkstar it would seem only released the one record, and if you are a fan of bands such as Zebra, Alpha or maybe Topaz, then Darkstar are for you. It's a very pleasant record, with Bob Stephenson's voice a close fit to Zebra's Randy Jackson, but not so close as to be a helium powered twin.

The Songs
Kicking off with the acoustic/electric 'Rainbow Sunsets', the Zebra flavour is oh so apparent, even if New Orleans finest hadn't even broken onto the scene at this point. 'Mind Teazer' is a much tougher affair, Stephenson's vocal quite roughhouse on this one, not so on 'I Was Made For You', which is a melodic 70's mid tempo orchestrated piece, very interesting and quite likeable once you give it a fair hearing. 'Private Eye' is another rough textured rocker, with hints of new wave and pop, the synths zing while the lead guitars cut up nicely. Good track! 'For Yesterday' presents itself as a cruisy number, expansive and airy, and keeps the same tempo and predominant acoustic/electric mix all the way through. 'Dreams Can't Be Wrong' is a mid-paced track that's part ballad. The vocals over-extend a bit on this one, female vocals are added for impact. For something different, 'Time And Time Again' is a prowling sort of tune, Stephenson gets to rough it up slightly, 'Gypsy Rover' on the other hand, meanders without convincing the listener. The last track 'Reflections' sounds like a Celestium track, with bright keyboards and stop/start drum patterns.

In Summary
It's a relatively short affair, a touch over 35 minutes playing time. Darkstar is a hybrid album, containing a handful of styles, not all of them convincing mind you, but worth a listen, even if this was recorded on a limited budget. In the where are they now stakes, Nino Palazzolo is a Music Director for Canadian showband Music Express, plus he has a music teaching dayjob. Mike Kohuch is now part of a cover band called Greatest Hits Live where they do mostly Styx and Journey covers.. note for note! Err hmm..

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#1 | super80boy on February 01 2014 17:19:43
Yes, this album is quite obscure and a bit of a mystery. I acquired it many years ago as a blind buy and just pulled it back out for another spin while reading your review. The album's lead off 'Rainbow Sunsets' is a melodic AOR treat. 'Private Eye' is quite infectious with its stabbing synths and fiery guitar solos. 'On My Way' is another top track with its mixture of hard rock and AOR elements. Although the album is a short set, I do like the overall variety of pacing and tempos, ballads and rockers. Highly recommended for AOR melodic rock private press obscurity collectors.
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