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Tokyo (Germany) - 1983 San

ARTIST: Tokyo (Germany)
SERIAL: PL 28537
YEAR: 1983
CD REISSUE: 2012, Yesterrock Records, Y-2012-22
SPONSOR: Germusica


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

TRACK LISTING: 01 Don't Want Your Money * 02 Need Another Love * 03 Don't Run Away * 04 Too High * 05 Emiko * 06 Jealousy * 07 Invisible * 08 Caroline * 09 Golden Time * 10 Summerday * 11 One Step Away * 12 Diana (bonus) * 13 You're A Liar (bonus) * 14 See You Again (bonus) * 15 Too High (bonus) * 16 Ocean Of Love (bonus)

1983's 'San' is the third and final instalment of the Tokyo story. This is the German band that featured in the early 80's before the various band members departed for pastures anew with respective German bands following on from this. Tokyo has gained some recent attention thanks to the reissue of their three albums via Yesterrock Records. Despite the repackaging and extra bonus tracks, there is some debate as to the quality of the audio, with people remarking about the various aural inflections that can be heard. I'll get to that shortly. So, by 1983, where were Tokyo at musically? Well, the closest comparison can be made to British AOR outfit Charlie, who in 1983 had issued one of the year's best AOR albums. Their radio friendly style can also be heard through Tokyo's music.. it's a pity in this modern day climate we live in that we don't have years like 1983 again, where albums like these were dime a dozen. The good thing with the Yesterrock reissue is the abundance of bonus tracks added on. It makes you wonder if a fourth album could've been on the cards perhaps for 1984, though from what I understand the extra songs were recorded throughout the band's career but kept aside as demos.

The Songs
'Don't Want Your Money' leads off, a punchy driving track which combines the harder aspects of Toto with a band like Lake, the vocals similar to Bobby Kimball in places. Overall it sounds good to me! For a minute there, I though 'Need Another Love' was a repeat of SPYS 'Sheep Don't Talk Back', but it was only fleeting. The chorus is complete with shout-out vocal chants while the song itself switches between hard rock and catchy hi-tech elements. 'Don't Run Away' is the first ballad that we encounter, and it's a goodie. No issues here. 'Too High' borders on the quirky, with Luley's vocals to the fore. 'Emiko' is another ballad, this one touches west-coast territory, though it is an instrumental in the vein of Lee Ritenour. We're back into it with the mighty 'Jealousy', a song of Charlie-esque proportions, with tinkly keys and sonic guitarwork. Keeping the momentum going, 'Invisible' maintains a strong presence, with verses that invoke reminders of the Alan Parsons Project while the chorus is pure Charlie! 'Caroline' is the third ballad, a bit 'play-by-numbers' but not the worst I've heard. 'Golden Time' starts with a dramatic entrance, but really doesn't get out of first gear. 'Summerday' lives up to its title, a bright and sunny song with lots of positive aspects. 'One Step Away' is the last track on the original LP and it's a keyboard driven slice of excellence. Leave the best till last as they say..

Those were the songs on the original LP. The next songs are the bonuses. 'Diana' has a Toto vibe, sort of like 'Toto IV' meets 'Fahrenheit'. 'You're A Liar' is a nifty rocker with a radio friendly attitude, similar to other mid 80's acts such as Glen Burtnick. 'See You Again' is a very different song all round, and must've been recorded long before or long after 'San'. It's jazzy vibe with jazz piano and saxophone lends an unusual flavour. We also get an alternative version of 'Too High' while the last bonus track is the veryToto like instrumental 'Ocean Of Love'. It's no wonder that Musenbichler took this approach to his next band Jojo, who took the Toto experience that one extra step further. This one will also appeal to Street Talk fans.

In Summary
Overall a very good collection of songs, and well worth the CD acquisition. Now getting back to the aural quality of the tracks.. You can hear background noise in the sections where there is silence, that is a given. Also, the sound seems to be overdriven, or what could be conceived as clipping. Now, I'm no record producer, but I have listened to enough music in my time to discern what is a good production and what isn't, and 'San' certainly isn't - to my ears. Listen to it closely under a set of headphones and I'm sure you'll notice the difference. However, I'll forgive YR for this as I believe all of the Tokyo albums are well deserved in the reissue market, though I would love for those working with the original material to take a lot more care in the transfer process.

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#1 | reyno-roxx on April 25 2012 08:08:47
Don't you mean that the repeat of 'Sheep Don't Talk Back' was only bleating, George?!

If I'm not mistaken, the bonus track of 'Diana' was the original version of a song Robby reworked for the Jojo album.
#2 | tonissive on April 25 2012 18:39:05
this is not the last tokyo album! there is a four called ' the westworld encounter' released in 1985 but without klaus luley because he went to form craaft!the band was reduced a trio and the music is more oriented to the hi-tech than the pomp rock of the first albums! i bought the vinyl in musicstack, a loss of money!
#3 | reyno-roxx on April 25 2012 20:39:42
I think Ken Taylor was the only original member in that 'Westworld Encounter' line-up. I understand it was intended as a bit of a money making exercise by the manager to stretch out the band's longevity one last time.
#4 | Eric on December 03 2012 22:25:59
My favorite Tokyo album. Great!

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