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Fast Forward - 1984 Living In Fiction

ARTIST: Fast Forward
ALBUM: Living In Fiction
LABEL: Island
SERIAL: 90193-1
YEAR: 1984
CD REISSUE: 2009, Renaissance, RMED-159


LINEUP: Ian Lloyd - vocals * Patrick Mahassen - guitars, vocals * Jimmy Lowell - bass, synthesizers * Andrew Kirin - synthesizers * Bruce Fairbairn - horns, vocals * Rodney Higgs - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Living In Fiction * 02 Play To Win * 03 What's It Gonna Take * 04 Tonite * 05 She Broke Your Heart * 06 Don't Walk Away * 07 You're A Mystery To Me * 08 Draw The Line * 09 Where Did The Time Go * 10 Watermusic II

This Fast Forward album/project is like a who's who of melodic rock. So many punters turn up to the Races on this one. Based around ex Stories singer Ian Lloyd, plus noted Vancouver based Bruce Fairbairn, the duo invite many local residents plus hangers on to contribute. David Sinclair, Jim Vallance, Bryan Adams, plus significant contributions from Beau Hill, Bob Rock, and even the Foreigner pairing of Mick Jones and Lou Gramm. The latter is a good comparison for singer Lloyd, who has Gramm like qualities on this album, though not his power. The music however is a glorious amalgam of many bands/artists from the late great eighties.. probably too many to name here, so Ill drop a few names in as we work through the songs. Another point to note is the beefy production afforded this album, and when you consider that Bruce Fairbairn was involved, 1+1 definitely =2!

The Songs
The opening to the title track 'Living In Fiction' features a fat keyboard sequence after which the SPYS-like hi-tech pomp follows. 'What's It Gonna Take' sees Lloyd veer down the Lou Gramm/Shadowking vocal path, the song itself featuring all sorts of Chinese type keyboard sequences. I'm sure when you hear it you'll know what I mean. The ballad 'Tonite' is gorgeous AOR, invoking memories of Russ Ballard at his best, circa his classic 84 s/t album. The melodies are graceful and keyboards just right. This should be on my ultimate ballads list I reckon. 'She Broke Your Heart' stomps its way through your speakers in regimented fashion, while the upbeat 'You're A Mystery To Me' again zeroes in on Russ Ballard territory. 'Draw The Line' has an aggressive rough-house streak to it, strutty guitars played with attitude. On the other hand, 'Where Did The Time Go' moves in the opposite direction, a smoother piece, with tinkly keyboards and nice chorus. Fast Forward finish off with the strange instrumental 'Watermusic II', sounding like something a band like Strange Advance would do. Not enough to make me want to rewind unfortunately.

In Summary
Fast Forward despite the strength of the material did not fare very well commercially, and a proposed second album was therefore put on the back-bairn-er! However, Bruce found solace on production chores with Loverboy and Bon Jovi, not the least his bank account said thank you very much! Lloyd continued to do solo work. After having listened to this again and familiarising myself with it, it seems a good candidate to put on the CD re-release list? Whatever the case, it certainly enters another.. the one-off wonders list.

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#1 | reyno-roxx on June 26 2008 11:13:30
Has surfaced on CD in Germany, but I'd wager that it's hardly official!
#2 | rostoned on June 26 2008 11:24:17
It's not official Dave....the first official reissue is out in summer 2009, a mere 25 years after original release, courtesy of Renaissance Records in the US. Who would have believed after soooo long? hmm!
#3 | Eric on June 26 2008 13:34:58
I seem to remember when I interviewed Ian a while back he spoke of releasing some Fast Forward stuff...
#4 | rostoned on July 08 2009 01:35:27
George I read again your review....are you 100% sure Ian Lloyd is a good comparison to (God) Lou Gramm??? eek IMHO his (Lloyd's) thin and frankly anonymous voice is THE weak link in this otherwise xcellent and well produced long player. If Lou had sung these songs this would have surely been among the decade top 5 albums!
#5 | gdazegod on July 08 2009 02:58:36
Haha Filippo, notice I said 'Gramm like qualities, but not his power'..
#6 | rostoned on July 09 2009 23:32:15
well G I don't think that Lloyd's (voice) has even Gramm like qualities, he remotely sounds like Tom Kelly's voice on I ten (but Kelly's better), so very anonymous at the end of the day.

oh by the way did you know that the Rodney Higgs credited on drums on the band line up is no other than Jim Vallance himself? that is a pseudonym he used in his early Prism days! Grin
#7 | Eric on July 09 2009 23:40:45
Rod Stewart. Am I the only one who hears this?
#8 | rostoned on July 11 2009 01:27:28
Tonite (Adams/Vallance) - was previously recorded as Tonight by Bryan Adams on his 1981 album 'You Want It You've Got It' and also by Randy Meisner in 1982 on his 's/t' album

Draw The Line (Adams/Vallance) was on Ted Nugent's 'Penetrator' from 1984 and also on Paul Dean's 'Hardcore' album from 1983

What's It Gonna Take (Gary O'Connor) - was previously recorded by Molly Hatchet on the 'No Guts No Glory' album in 1983. AFAIK Gary O didnt record it tho'...

Don't Walk Away and You're A Mystery To Me (Toronto) - were on Toronto's 1982 album 'Get It On Credit'.

Also the title track was written by Beau Hill (and sounds like a Shanghai left over) and Adams/Vallance wrote the fantastic 'Play To Win' and 'Where Did...'. Lloyd penned only the last track on side a and co wrote the instrumental closing track.
#9 | rkbluez on October 12 2011 23:56:02
A solid record but nothing amazing...still it's worth owning if your and AOR/Pomp fan only thing is the Renaissance Records version of this is a lousy vinyl rip...what a shame...and a waste of pressing up sub par sounding disc' with most of their later releases like the Charlie's the quality was crap!
#10 | super80boy on March 25 2014 02:49:01
An entertaining listen with lots of catchy hooks and melodies. Lots of talent invested here... This was a recent re-discovery. I remember throwing out my original vinyl when the CD reissue first came out.
#11 | gdazegod on March 06 2017 20:05:28
Fast Forward - 1984 What's it Gonna Take

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