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Articles Home » 1987 Articles » Tygers Of Pan Tang - 1987 Burning In The Shade
Tygers Of Pan Tang - 1987 Burning In The Shade

ARTIST: Tygers Of Pan Tang
ALBUM: Burning In The Shade
LABEL: Zebra
YEAR: 1987
CD REISSUE: 2004, Lemon Records (UK), CDLEM35


LINEUP: Jon Deverill - lead and harmony vocals * Steve Lamb - guitars, backing vocals * Brian Dick - drums, percussion

Guest Musicians: Steve Thompson - keyboards, programming, bass * Phil Caffrey - backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 The First (The Only One) * 02 Hit It * 03 Dream Ticket * 04 Sweet Lies * 05 Maria * 06 Hideaway * 07 Open To Seduction * 08 The Circle Of The Dance * 09 Are You There? * 10 The Memory Faded


I first became aware of Tygers Of Pan Tang with the 1982 release 'The Cage', which contained a number of single releases of which the record label hoped for a quick return on their investment. A bagful of limited editions were presented, ranging from a tempting picture disc for 'Love Potion No9', (which for some reason came with the picture of the previous album, 'Crazy Nights'), three (yes three!) different coloured vinyl's for the RPM cover, 'Rendezvous', never did manage to buy the white one, plus the Eiffel Tower resplendent on the 'Paris By Air' single. Regrettably this high level of promotion failed to break the band, and subsequently like actual tigers in the world began a steady decline. This fall may be in sales, but as far as I am concerned not in quality and this being the final opus before going into hibernation for a number of years is one of the best melodic rock album to come from these shores. This 1987 release saw only Brian Dick being the only remaining member from the original line up, with just John Deverill providing company from the previous releases. In came Lamb who had played with Brian Dick in a post 'The Cage' band called Sergeant with singer Tony Liddle (Strangeways) plus the inclusion of Steve Thompson as songwriter who really becomes the major player and the catalyst here. His ability is obvious and seems to be one clever chap of what I have read about him on the web. Released in 1987 on Zebra, someone obviously saw the merits in this with Lemon re-releasing in 2004 on CD, I would venture for the first time. Accompanied by liner notes by Geoff Barton of all people, who must had been fed up writing about cars, Pink Floyd and Genesis and then a miracle from above happens, he re-discovered AOR.

The Songs
A quick observation being that there is some nice activity going on here. An album of songs crammed full for the ear.

'The First (The Only One)', provide a real training exercise for any young band commencing an apprenticeship in AOR song writing. Mixing up classic FM, Rio, Rage and vocally a small touch of Spandau Ballet. Lots of tinkering of the ivories, straight off the drawing board resulting in text book AOR with supreme feeling.

'Hit It' provides a heavier approach, this time reminiscent of what Tobruk were producing on the classic 'Wild On The Run' album. More backing vocals displayed pinched from the blond highlights of Whitesnake. Possibly a bit rushed but still can be traced back to their more NWOBHM roots, however still impressive.

'Dream Ticket' is just gorgeous, dripping in melodic rock calories. This is as catchy as Japanese knotweed and just as difficult to eradicate from your mind as the plant is from your garden. Destroying the competition of other like-minded bands from the same era, as the aforementioned knotweed destroys buildings. This is top class Heartland.

Tygers still remain in the running as one of the great UK AOR bands with the likes of 'Sweet Lies'. You could be easier fooled into thinking this was an unreleased Boulevard track, together with poaching The Doobie Brothers style background vocals, was Michael McDonald a special guest?

These boys can also do 'epic', take 'Maria' for instance, once of the best and surprising songs, great vocal performance and really does move into different rock phases throughout the tune. Similar to Diamond Head, as the guitars start to motor, waves of emotion, a keyboard tremendous composition.

'Hideaway' continues to moisten the atmosphere with the opening just like Alien. Bounding over hot sands of pumping keyboards, combining the more melodic influences of Lillian Axe with the metallic blue of House Of Lords. Generous amounts of backing vocals produce one of the most summertime tunes from these shores (bearing in mind the amount of rain we get, a difficult proposition), definitely hotter than FM.

However I am not so convinced with 'Open To Seduction', the song title and even the actual tune would sit comfortably on any Autograph album, and really any similar liked minded American bands of the time.

A step back in the right direction is 'The Circle Of The Dance', which could have made it onto the second Trillion album, high praise indeed. Thom Griffin could well have sung this one, touches of Boston it forms a bright, enlightening song, and due to appear on the next Stryper release (well maybe!)

To quote William Wordsworth, 'the wished for point was reached' in the shape of 'Are You There?' Invigorated by the previous number this little beauty leaves big melodic elephant footprints. People used to complain about Def Leppard selling out to America; well the Tygers have gone one step further and applied for American 80'S AOR citizenship. How about Dakota, Tycoon and any AOR group appearing on 80's film soundtracks as a reference point, just excellent.

Time is called on the album with 'The Memory Fades', which in all honesty doesn't happen to me when I finish listening to this recording. But alas I feel this opus has all been forgotten and probably never truly appreciated, but hopefully this goes some way to make amends.

In Summary
Dramatizing the NWOBHM, making forays into melodic rock green pastures, with enough life to produce ample harvests of stunning songs to provide enough sustenance to meet the appetite of any hungry melodic rock listener. Many a scribe has dismissed this as inconsistent and a band going downhill, but I say 'no', retract that statement this minute, you oaf! This is totally a different animal (tiger) to what's gone before. The musical creep with this recording shows a band discovering new areas, rather than a last gasp attempt at success. I feel this provides as much oxygen as the Amazon rainforest. When talking about the UK best attempts and more recent (i.e. Moritz, Vega), it's always the likes of Heartland, Tobruk and FM that get mentioned, yes agreed all good, but a few mentions of latter day Tygers wouldn't go unwelcome, so open the tear gas canisters and take cover you non-believers. Next Firefest festival, get this lot to reform and play this album, then we can truly celebrate UK rock music.

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#1 | gdazegod on February 13 2011 22:12:21
Agree, there are some good moments on here. Reminds me a lot of Fastway in parts. Production could've been better in some places, but when line this up against Mama's Boys (Growin Up The Fast Way), Fastway, Mammoth etc, it's in fine company.
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