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Articles Home » 1990 Articles » Animator - 1990 Gallery
Animator - 1990 Gallery

ARTIST: Animator
ALBUM: Gallery
LABEL: Rotamina Records
YEAR: 1990


LINEUP: Tim Brooks - lead & background vocals * Jay Hawkins - bass guitars, MIDI pedals, background vocals * John Hawkins - drums, percussion, background vocals * Stacey Krejci - keyboards, background vocals * Rik Ruzga - background vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 A First Impression * 02 Cycles * 03 Choices * 04 Natural Right * 05 Lady Splendor * 06 Set Adrift * 07 The Real World * 08 Weary * 09 Inward Collapse * 10 Room With A View * 11 A Second Chance

From the same twin cities that brought the world REO Speedwagon, Head East and Starcastle; Champaign-Urbana, Illinois' Animator existed for a brief period in early 90's and 'Gallery' was their only recorded output. Unfortunately, I don't have much background on the band although the CD did receive rave reviews from the European and Japanese prog 'zines at the time. Released in a period when melodic progressive rock made an all too brief come back in America bolstered by Seattle's System Seven, Blind Owl and the long forgotten Fragile Glass, distribution was significant as 'Gallery' was readily available for anyone who wanted a copy from most vendors unlike so many indie prog albums in the pre-internet days.

The Songs
Listening to 'Gallery' for the first time, you would never guess Animator were a Midwest, or for that mater an American band. In fact the sound is very British and very neo-progressive in approach. Vocalist Tim Brooks comes across like IQ's Paul Menel and Euan Lowson of Pallas while instrumentally Marillion, Pendragon circa 'Kowtow' and hi-tech influences ala Rush cast a large shadow over the Animator sound. In case you were wondering as these boys were from Champaign, a Starcastle influence does make an appearance on the opening 'A First Impression' mainly in the chorus, but for the most part it's all Britain and all neo with 'Choices', the IQ-like 'Set Adrift' and the early Pallas influenced 'Room With A View' making for a well rounded album and one of the best U.S. progressive releases of the period both from a song writing and production standpoint.

In Summary
From what I understand the members of Animator all went back to private life following the release of 'Gallery' although there was a side project with one of the members (which one escapes me at the moment) and Starcastle's Gary Strater called Lush. Material was recorded and I have a twenty minute untitled track that is straight ahead instrumental prog rock and quite good blending Camel and Rush. What might have been.

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#1 | chewie on June 27 2010 06:20:37
Great! Since I have this and Blind Owl, I am now curious about System Seven and Fragile Glass...
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