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Articles Home » 1980 Articles » Cruiser - 1980 Rollin With The Times
Cruiser - 1980 Rollin With The Times

ARTIST: Cruiser
ALBUM: Rollin' With The Times
LABEL: Network
YEAR: 1980


LINEUP: Don Beauchamp - vocals, keyboards, percussion * Richie Henman - drums * Tom Rathie - bass, vocals * Wally Rathie - vocals, keyboards * Ed Stevens - guitars, vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 R & R Survival * 02 Rollin' With The Times * 03 Down On The Streets * 04 No Admission * 05 Things Gotta Change * 06 Give Me My Money * 07 Incident At New World Theatre * 08 Terror In The Streets * 09 Same Time Same Station * 10 Television Sons

I've long had a penchant for the Canucks of the late 1970's and early 1980's who strayed from the mainstream and adopted an 'off the wall' stance to AOR. Aerial, Prism, and pomp Gods (and kings) Zon are just a few of the classic examples of these 'wacky' Canadians. Perhaps not quite as well known but cast in a similar quirky mould were Montreal based band Cruiser, who included original April Wine drummer Richie (no relation to Tim) Henman in their line-up. Cruiser straddled the thin line between melodic hard rock and pomp, with a lyrical and musical approach that ranged from the conventional to the downright bizarre. With two keyboardists at the helm you'd be forgiven for deducing that this was a lightweight outfit prone to Supertramp style musical whimsies. Au contraire my fellow music lovers, Ed Steven's steely edged guitar ensured that the vital crunch factor was never missing for very long. Lead vocalist and principal song-writer Don Beauchamp had a slightly new-wave quality to his vocals which also lent itself well to Cruiser's leftfield approach.

The Songs
The album opens on a rather subdued note with 'R&R Survival' which as the title suggests, is about the trials and tribulations of trying to succeed in the music business. 'Rollin' With The Times' continues this theme, though musically it's a strident rocker driven along by pulsating keyboards, interspersed with Ed Steven's solid guitar. It presents a jaundiced view of the music business, and it's harsh realities. Try this for size.. 'Sex changes, future shock, media men tell me what I'm not, I'm just a page whirlin' in the wind, as soon as I think I got it, I gotta think it over again'. 'Down On The Street' and 'No Admission' are immaculate slices of hard pomp. The latter with chiming Supertramp style keyboards - though thankfully the punchy guitar ensures that's where the similarity ends. Side one closer 'Things Gotta Change' also exhibits similar characteristics with heavy duty riffing, a memorable chorus, and duelling keyboards in the midsection. It's over on side two that Cruiser let the mask slip ( so to speak), and start to display their more eccentric tendencies. The vocal chants on 'Gimme My Money' and sound effects on the outro only serve to highlight this quirkiness. However it's only when 'Terror In The Streets' arrives that things get really bizarre. The theatric tone of Don Beauchamp's lead vocals and the mass vocal chorales, give the impression Cruiser had a misspent childhood, locked in the attic with a collection of old time music hall LP's. The legendary Paul Suter perhaps described the song more succinctly as 'Gilbert and Sullivan gone HM'. (I remember reading that review.. lol..Ed) This song really does have to be heard to be believed!! Temporary relief from this insanity comes in the form of the haunting 'Same Time, Same Station', with its sparse keyboard dominated arrangements. The madness returns with 'Television Sons', opening to the sounds of TV channel surfing on the intro. It's a wonderfully overblown piece of pomp with surging guitar, though I'd have to question what the 'brand new dance' with 'the washing machine type of beat' is? (see what I mean about being eccentric?)

In Summary
The album received a lot of critical acclaim on it's release and the band were on the verge of signing a major deal with Capitol. Sadly though this didn't ensure the bands 'R&R survival' as they broke up shortly afterwards due to internal squabbling. Not much has been heard of the various band members since, though I do believe that Ed Stevens resurfaced five years later on fellow Canadian pompsters Leyden Zar's second album. The conservative amongst you should give this album a wide berth as it's unlikely to be your particular cup of Earl Grey. However those of you with a taste for the eccentric will find it refreshingly different..

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#1 | TheMurf on July 20 2010 07:44:15
Actually Tim Henman is related to David and Ritchie Henman. He's their cousin.
#2 | universaltongue on September 14 2010 06:24:05
There was a follow-up album that never hit store shelves called "Strange News". I've got a few tracks from the album that are decent, but nowhere near as brilliant as this quirky debut.
#3 | winefan on December 04 2010 21:40:39
Both CRUISER CDs are now available here:
#4 | gdazegod on December 05 2010 00:51:07
Are these artists getting paid with the sale of their music?
#5 | reyno-roxx on December 05 2010 10:21:33
Those albums have been available there for some time. Always resisted as I'm not sure if the artists have much to do with them.
#6 | windsofmarch on April 22 2013 16:33:15
Amazing light pomp album.Like Morningstar in soft mode.
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