ALBUM: Night Without You
SERIAL: C60 30975 002
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
LINEUP: Igor Melnik - vocals * Michael Rybinikov - vocals, saxophone * Michael Timarfev - guitar * Alexander Sitnikov - bass * Victor Yanyushkin - leader
TRACK LISTING: 01 Hard Case * 02 The Last Moment * 03 Reggae Beach * 04 Revelation * 05 Vigilance * 06 Night Without You * 07 The White Witch * 08 My Country * 09 I, Too Am A Sinner * 10 Slander
Geography and foreign languages were never my strong suit at school. Although I'm sure if I had indeed excelled in these areas, I am still not convinced that the art of deciphering albums covers, would have been part of the National Curriculum which would had assisted me in the analysis of this quite strange release. Yep agreed as ever, an off kilter way to open an article but the reasoning will become clearer as I progress. I'm sure we all have bought records on the off chance; maybe something attracted you, it may be scanning the credits closely and finding buried in the detail, your favourite melodic rock seamstress, or maybe an obscure record label. But what do you do when you are faced with something out of the ordinary? Like a foreign language when sometimes you can tease out the detail but in this instance it might as well be gibberish. So all I had to go on when looking at the back cover was a picture of the group. Six guys, so one must be a keyboard player? all with permed hair and jackets last seen on a the pelmet of a 4 poster bed or a circus or even the wardrobe from the era of Celtic Frost
's 'Cold Lake' opus, I wonder if George would let me review that album? (fire away mate.. Ed.)
Anyway, on what other planet would these be plus points? For me it was a possibility of something new, exciting and undiscovered. Further searching on the internet at home, while the album played in the background is harder than I envisaged. A couple of mentions on Ebay, linking to Turkey, although when you have only 8 words in English on the album to work with it can be challenging especially while the rest was quite undecipherable, where is the back to front N on my keyboard?, ahh, pressed in Uzbekistan, that party explains the lettering. This is going to be difficult especially as I have no Belgian relative to call upon, (Poirot) or to my knowledge they haven't made a C.S.I Rushden, and I have problems with English at the best of times.
Eventually managed to pick up the trail, from a new site to me at least, called 'melodic-hardrock.com', while it briefly mentions Visit, being from Russia, it did highlight what the future held for the members, basically the 'leader' was moved aside, and the rest of the guys formed Demarsh
and released an album in 1991, 'You Will Be The First', in a more hard rock vein, sounds interesting, an avenue I intend to hook up on later. Bizarrely they appear on YouTube, performing a soundtrack for a Russian football team, Locomotive. Back to the site it seems that these guys provided back up to the said band leader, a Mr Victor Yanyushkin (all very formal) and quickly after this release went their own way. I can see why a change of leadership was required after listening to this album. In light of the above I still couldn't find much about this album, what was it like? so hopefully I can open up this avenue. Although with the help of a friend from my work, Jane, who studied Russian at school 40 years ago and Google Translate (mentioned to me by George), I was at least able to piece together the song titles and the names of the guys involved on this album. Anyway if you get a chance to listen to it you can easily recognise the great and in all honesty the downright evil contained here, so here goes.
Well my initial optimism is pretty much quashed as the first opening notes ring out, being brass infused, it bumbles along in a very pop music sort of way, the saxophone even has my toiling with the prospect of Wham!
I stare at the picture, surely the picture cannot lie? can I be that wide of the mark? Well, with 'The Last Moment' shows signs of a slight improvement, especially with that pompy chorus, possible indicators of a classic here? This definitely displays more pink than a combination of Alien
and Da Vinci
, beautiful, where did I put my ruffled shirt?
Oh dear, again my happiness is short lived, as the guy has found his mouth pipe and stuck it back into his saxophone, worse still it's reggae? Russia and vodka, yes, Russia and Bob Marley
?.. no! Is this the Russian dreadlock holiday? it shouldn't be, they didn't even play cricket! It is a shame cos sporadically they revisit the ivories to great effect.
This is followed by a torrid ballad in the shape of 'Revelation' and of course the lyrical context and content is lost of me, but that's nothing compared to the closing track on side one going by the name of 'Vigilance', how do I describe it? a dubbed Benny Hill song wouldn't be that far of the mark.
Flip it over and I have at least established the title track on offer, well here they seem to have taken the pomp extract from the souls of early Bad Habit
, and included a Yngwie Malmsteen
inspired guitar solo, impressive indeed.
This style continues on 'The White Witch' and shows a fine continuation of scandi rock, floating keyboards, under grooved by some roaring riffs with a catchy chorus where the language barrier is not important to understand the fine bounty of melodic wistfulness on offer.
The quality then tends to stop, while 'My Country' is passable, even though they have moved to what only can be described as NWOBHM, especially vocally, why make this change is very questionable. It doesn't affect the chorus, while the other musicians gets to grips with this change, which falls into a UDO
Quality control is not a strong attribute in Russia, obviously because the album is starting to fall to pieces again, a ballad 'I, Too Am A Sinner' which have seen better days making a 80's Eurovision entry and reminds me of those Cold War TV pictures of those Mayday parades with all those tanks, army marching, plodding, well this could be the backing track.
The strangeness don't stop there as the last track, 'Slander' appears like something off David Bowie
's 'Station to Station', gravitating to electronic pop music, someone must have got a synthesizer for his birthday; I wonder if Yazoo
were big in Russia at the time?
Yes, I am sure we have all got albums that contain that odd AOR gem and the rest of the songs being pretty lacklustre, but in this case some of these songs are so left of centre compared to the 3 beauties on here it's hard to believe they come from the same source. Just imagine you are a Rangers supporter, one minute watching them play against Celtic or in the European Cup, next minute playing the likes of Berwick Rangers (and they are not even Scottish!), but like those hardy Rangers supporters, it's a stark reality and not just a bad dream. Just think of the marketing strategy of this album I could develop if I was looking to sell on ebay, include those 3 great tracks as clips and leave the seller wondering what other stunners are at their reach, one high price is waiting for me, plus a very much disgruntled buyer a few weeks later, as they call for false advertising! After all said and done, I am still content with my small investment, it does have some character, like the cover made out of paper, rather than cardboard (due in no small part the consequence of the great cardboard famine of the 90's!), no writing on the spine just plain white, the mention of the 'leader' of the group (still no idea what his role was, bit like a Director of Football), the lettering. Plus the other add on's, a search through the wares of the aforementioned Demarsh
, a new web site worth looking from time to time, but remember all you potential buyers, approach with caution.
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