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Articles Home » 1986 Articles » Stabilizers, The - 1986 Tyranny
Stabilizers, The - 1986 Tyranny

ARTIST: Stabilizers, The
ALBUM: Tyranny
SERIAL: CK 40264
YEAR: 1986


LINEUP: Dave Christenson - vocals * Rich Nevens - guitars, drum programming, keyboards, keyboard programming

Additional Musicians: Robbie Buchanan - keyboards, keyboard programming * Casey Young - keyboard programming * John 'J.R' Robinson - drums, drum overdubs * Neil Stubenhaus, Nathan East - bass * Tom Scott - sax

TRACK LISTING: 01 Tyranny * 02 If I Found Rome * 03 I Don't Need The Pain * 04 Now I Hear You * 05 One Simple Thing * 06 Underground * 07 Does Your Love Lie Open? * 08 A Place To Hide * 09 You Pull Me Down

Here's an album from the middle of the 80's. A duo, featuring singer Dave Christenson and multi-instrumentalist Rich Nevens. Obviously this pair had something going for them, otherwise CBS (a.k.a Columbia, Sony) would've shown no interest in them. I kinda like them, to me they represent a cross between David + David, Aussies Icehouse and Canuck's Strange Advance. I'm not sure what CBS's calling card was. Perhaps they saw something that went 'ka-ching'. Other than that, who's to know. It's very hi-tech, with a ton of programming, and other than the aforementioned duo, session heavyweights Robbie Buchanan and John 'J.R' Robinson give this album a bit of a swift kick.

The Songs
Certainly, it's not the norm for L.A styled pop rock a la 1986. If you hark back to the time, it was either hair metal that we're all familiar with, or strange bands that were cult or unknown. I think The Stabilizers fit into the latter category. The opener and title track 'Tyranny' is straight out of the Strange Advance song-book. Very much in the hi-tech/new romantic sub-grnre, and very likeable, well it was for mew at least. '(If I) Found Rome' is full of synth washes, and big punchy drum machines straight out of 1986.. oh dear.. No, it's not that bad, but if you listened to a heap of similar material on You Tube you might reconsider! 'I Don't Need The Pain' is a smooth middle-tempo affair, which tries hard to win you over. The sax solo from Tom Scott is enough for you to mysteriously wind your way to the kitchen looking for your late night cappucino! The punchy drums and pulsing bass on 'Now I Hear You' are enough to give your innards a health boost, under a set of high-quality headphones, you may be looking for the nearest bathroom for a bit of relief. Don't get me wrong, this is a great song! The duo change things completely for the understated 'One Simple Thing', just when you think things are gonna fade away completely, the duo kick into high-mode AOR with a vengeance. It's a great tack, and if they'd managed to create an LP's worth of this style, they would have been winners in my book! 'Underground' is a slinky but dark edged melodic rocker, 'Does Your Love Lie Open', is enjoyable too, big keys and big vocal melodies, David Christenson having a ball with this one. Things get very hi-tech with 'A Place To Hide', kinda funky, with the sax courtesy of Tom Scott again. 'You Pull Me Down' continues the hi-tech drive, with some rather sticky guitar solos.

In Summary
A likeable album, but unfortunately stuck with a very dated production and arrangements that really can't move forward beyond 1986 to be honest. Stuck in the groove as they say. Once you listen to it you'll understand where I'm coming from.

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#1 | Eric on January 07 2014 17:29:45
I liked this album a lot at the time and had it on CD which apparently is quite expensive these days. Been years since I've heard it...
#2 | JAG on January 08 2014 19:55:22
I totally disagree with the boss. In my opinion this is one of the best AOR/Hi-Tech albums of the decade together with:

Device - 22B3

LaMarca - same

Sembello Michael - Without walls (japanese cd)

Burtnick Glen - Talking in code

The Ladder - same

Fury - same

Eaton Chris - Vision

Janz Paul - High strung

Jim Foster - Powerlines

And MANY,MANY others….

if anyone wants to use the term POP to describe this masterpiece,then he must do it even with the overestimated Welcome to the real world (MR. Mister),described by many as an A.O.R. classic
#3 | gdazegod on January 08 2014 20:00:22
Fair enough JAG.. lol! I like your other selections better though. And remember, in the review, I did say 'I Kinda like them'. So hopefully that lets me off the hook somewhat.
#4 | super80boy on September 04 2016 15:41:52
Before these guys were signed to Columbia, they were kicking around in the Northeast independent music scene in the early 80's. Columbia wasted no time throwing all sorts of resources at them. I'm sure they were looking for them to be the next huge thing ala Mr. Mister's 'Welcome To The Real World' success. Along with experienced session musicians, the label enlisted two big time directors for their music videos, David Fincher for 'One Simple Thing' and David Hogan for 'Tyranny'. I've always quite liked this album; it's very entertaining with tons of catchy arrangements, even with all the period programming elements.Thumbs Up
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