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Leyden Zar - 1981 Leyden Zar




ARTIST: Leyden Zar
ALBUM: Leyden Zar (81)
LABEL: A&M
SERIAL: SP 4860
YEAR: 1981

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Pascal Mailloux - vocals, keyboards * Brian Wilson - vocals, lead guitar * Paul Grondin - vocals, bass * Jacques Noel - rhythm guitars * Serge Gratton - drums, percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 Money Talks Loud * 02 Backstreet Girl * 03 Teenage Pioneer * 04 Danger Zone * 05 Where's The One * 06 Deadline * 07 Life Is Bizarre * 08 Roll The Dice * 09 You Can Change * 10 Mirrors * 11 Save Energy


Background
Leyden Zar were a Quebec based band and were formed as early as 1976. Apparently the band members were originally part of the backing band for French Canadian singer Robert Leroux. The members (listed above) hooked up together to do their own thing. Interestingly enough, three of the members could all sing lead vocals, and it shows on their first self titled album released on A&M/Unidisc. The main feature of the band are the quirky keyboard arrangements of Pascal Mailloux, on what is predominantly an album of radio oriented rock. On the back cover they look like a cross between new-wavers and remnants of seventies styled rockers a la Starz, Gambler etc.


The Songs
Of the tracks, a handful grab my attention immediately, such as the opener 'Money Talks Loud', 'Teenage Pioneer', the swingin' guitar aggression of 'Deadline' and The Tubes like 'Life Is Bizarre'. The vocoders being extremely effective.. and bizarre! Then we've got possibly my favourite track on the album 'Roll The Dice', containing all the elements of memorable melodic rock.. strong verses, hooky keyboards, and a killer guitar solo. Awesome. Punchy power pop is all the rage on 'You Can Change', followed by 'Mirrors', very reminiscent of fellow Canadians Fist. The quirky keyboards are there right to the end on 'Save Energy', and you can't help but be reminded of the direction that New England took on their second and third albums.. very quirky indeed!


In Summary
Unfortunately this album despite it being reasonably good, did not find a home among fans of the genre. They did release another self-titled album in 1985 on the CBS/Unidisc label, produced by Walter Rossi and featuring a new lead guitarist in Eddie Stevens who had by this time replaced Brian Wilson. Another Canadian band confined to the annals of melodic rock discography. Very underrated IMHO.


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