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Tokyo (Germany) - 1981 Tokyo



ARTIST: Tokyo (Germany)
ALBUM: Tokyo
LABEL: Ariola
SERIAL: 203 430
YEAR: 1981
CD REISSUE: 2011, Yesterrock, YR201116

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Robby Musenbichler - guitars, vocals * Ken Taylor - bass, vocals * Klaus Luley - guitars, vocals * Lothar Krell - keyboards * Fritz Matzka - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Tokyo * 02 Cryin' * 03 Tuesday Morning * 04 Girl * 05 We Are The Times * 06 Teenage Shooter * 07 Father Of Time * 08 Carry On * 09 Welcome To My Home * 10 Young Kids In Love (bonus) * 11 Carry On (bonus) * 12 You're My Girl (bonus) * 13 Cryin' (bonus) * 14 The Time Is Right (bonus) * 15 On My Mind (bonus) * 16 Behind The Faces (bonus)


Background
I do find with many of the albums that undergo the re-issue treatment, that I probably have the vinyl edition nestled away in my collection, especially by the likes of Rock Candy, Wounded Bird and more recently by AOR Heaven. I am not boasting about my collection, it is more to do with being old. Also new entrants to the market are Yesterrock who have gone about issuing the 1981 debut from Tokyo. Well they have certainly put me in my place as this has immediately proved me wrong as for some reason I never picked this one up or the following two for that matter: 'Fasten Seat Belts' and 'San'. I really can't fathom why this is the case, yes I have been aware of them, and yet again I seemed to have missed out, especially with the evidence on offer here. So after seeing this on one of the other writers list (think it was Reyno Roxx), I visited YouTube and caught a listen to the opening track and believe me, after 60 seconds, I was off to Amazon to buy a copy. Ever tried looking for this on eBay? Needle in a haystack. Bit of history, well other than the Craaft link which I mention below, it seems members of the group were in the Michael Wynn Band, which I seem to remember the name of but never literally heard or purchased, and Supermax, who I have no idea of. Based in Frankfurt in the early 80's they began gigging and rehearsing in lieu of their debut which according to the Yesterrock website 'immediately stormed the charts'. Nice minimalistic cover don't you think? Reminds me of the selection of posters used to publicise the London Olympics, I especially like the addition of the bird on the cover, really finishes it off. Yes, looks pretty cheap, and it will not be giving Rodney Matthews any sleepless nights I can assure you, but it's the music that counts. Tokyo even get a mention in the HR and HM Encyclopaedia, remember this, opening up the world to the likes of Alpha Centauri etc, so what does it say about Tokyo? 'Melodic symphonic Rock Band'.. good! 'set up by German session musicians (among which Klaus Luley, who turns up in Craaft later on)', good didn't know he was involved, but I like Craaft, 'The result was a mixture of Styx, Saga and Supertramp'.. interesting sounds like a good mix. It goes on, ' but the songs did not impress very much'.. Oh, that's a bit worrying?


The Songs
The opening 'Tokyo' is a blinder, what a predicament they find themselves in 'cos I fell in love with a Japanese girl, and I got a woman at home', yep been there, done that.. well maybe not! It traces the same line as Touch and Balance and really if The Scorpions had recorded this, then it would be up there with 'Rock You Like Hurricane' in the number of MTV requests (showing my age, somewhat). The song becomes a tattoo in your mind and is unable to be removed, really leaves a permanent mark.

'Cryin' surprisingly has them entering the Commonwealth by the South African of Manfred Mann and the Canadian of Saga. Taking the melodic side of both of these groups, especially Manfred Mann. You quickly succumb to the song and become as defenceless to the charms as the East Stirlingshire back 4 (perennial strugglers of the Scottish Division 3).

'Tuesday Morning' digs deep but still they keep to the law and order of the AOR rulebook. Kicking off visiting Dakota and moving onto Pablo Cruise. So lightweight it would float, very American in styling and the same could be said of 'Girl', which has them touring Boston and do their best to grow their beards in a style of Brad Delp. As with all these songs, 'Girl' is a well-crafted tune and charactised with some great verses and keyboard crashes and does get motoring, excellent.

'We Are The Times' begin hitting on Streetheart, nice piano, guitar siren effects and great vocal break after a couple of minutes. Obviously they all seem to take part in vocals which provides a great level of variety and able to mix it up even better than Styx, by avoiding the showbiz element, sometimes prone to due to Dennis DeYoung.

Again this is displayed on 'Teenage Shooter' which is quite a change because it comes across as the twin brother to Speedway Boulevard, really has a similar vibe as 'Dog In The Distance', real bite of dirty funk . It also has that hard rock feel but still with a sturdy AOR melody. With instruments shooting off in all manner of directions, splinter rock anyone? Even reminiscent of 70's great Ursa Major, chest beating AOR, chilling guitar riffs.

Whereas 'Father Of Time' reaches into the pockets of Toto and 'Departure' era of Journey. This is like opening a cupboard of 70's and 80 records and all these classic groups falling out. The somewhat depressing first couple of minutes are picked up by some bright and breezy keyboards and I first get the image that if you add a bit of pop, up would rise the sound of Craaft, which would finish the link to what was going to be some way off in the future. It is also here and the last track that the earlier reference to Supertramp becomes obvious, and not just because of the saxophone.

'Carry On' creates the most 'pomp' of the album and is so smooth, like when you were young sliding on the wood flooring of your school hall in your socks, or maybe that's what I was doing when it was released. So Kansas looms large on the horizon it just has a tremendous chorus which forms the main axis that the song revolves around. Stirring stuff.

'Welcome To My Home' may take longer the than Europa League to complete but it is worth it. You find that the influence of Supertramp sometimes lies just beneath much of the tunes; here after the first verse it literally covers the whole song with a melodic blanket.

The Tramp influence is here for all to see, and you are able to tick off all the boxes from that Encyclopaedia summary, all except one though, being that the 'songs do not all impress very much' a statement after listening to this album I very much disagree with.


In Summary
For your listening please, the re-issue contains 7 bonus tracks; over half are new tunes, while the other 3 actually do sound different to the original versions. Included in the insert, Yesterrock are letting you know that be prepared for the other duo of Tokyo albums which are coming soon. To finish I do feel that Tokyo have really taken aspects of many other fine groups and instead of a patchwork of differing colours that don't mix they have produced a high quality fabric that would grace any catwalk.


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Comments
#1 | Eric on December 11 2011 13:24:01
Great and right on review. Classic album and a personal favorite...
#2 | reyno-roxx on December 11 2011 14:35:28
Fantastic review. especially as it's from the viewpoint of some one discovering the delights of this group for the very first time.
By the way, the bonus tracks are from demos originally written in the 80s and re-recorded much later; as with the revised recordings of album tracks, by Robby Musenbichler.
#3 | windsofmarch on June 17 2012 11:04:23
Fantastic Hard AOR with pomp overtones.The best from Tokyo in my humble opinion.
 
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