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Lake - 1985 Voices

ALBUM: Voices
LABEL: Polydor
SERIAL: 827 458-1 (LP), 827 458-2 (CD)
YEAR: 1985


LINEUP: James Hopkins-Harrison - vocals * Bernd Gartig - lead guitars, vocals * Achim Oppermann - guitars, keyboards, vocals * Thomas Bauer - keyboards, alto saxophone, vocals * Josef Kappl - bass, vocals * Dieter Ahrendt - drums, percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 Alright * 02 More Than A Feeling * 03 Comedy Of Love * 04 I Don't Want To Lose You * 05 Nervous Breakdown, The Intro * 06 Nervous Breakdown * 07 Chase The Dragon * 08 Who Do You Love * 09 Love Is A Game * 10 Music's A Way Of Life


'Voices' was probably the first sheer pop album by Lake. From its opening strains it's obvious that the keyboards have taken on a more dominant role, as has a more static drumming style. Now, this would usually get me in trouble with the music, being the guitar based rock fan that I am.

The Songs
However, 'Alright' proves James Hopkins-Harrison's ear for a good melody, as does 'More Than a Feeling', which should really logically be too soft pop for my tastes. Track 3, 'Comedy of Love' ups the tempo again somewhat, sporting those Asian-flavoured keyboard fills often used in the '80's as well as some nicely funky guitars. On 'Echo of the Melody', guitarist/keyboardist and co-writer Achim Opperman gets to sing lead, and his light voice suits the highly melodic tune very well. 'I Don't Want to Lose You', on the other hand, could almost have been one of those beefy power ballads from the late '80's, had the keyboard and drum sounds had more 'oomph!' to them. Guitarist Bernd Gertig, however, manages to belt out some power chords while the song still stays pop ... and an excellent balladic pop tune at that. The intro for 'Nervous Breakdown' utilizes a very pissed off, British accented woman, and, however silly it may sound, remains my favourite little bit on the album. The song following the intro is also more uptempo than the majority of the album, and pays tribute to the fast living, stress inducing and shallow lifestyle of the '80's yap's. James Hopkins Harrison pretty much nails it with the lyrics, and the music matches the lyrical content. Track 7, 'Chase the Dragon', is a song so poppy I keep wanting to slam it big time, but the chorus saves the day every time - again that ear for melody, courtesy of Mr. Hopkins Harrison. 'Who Do You Love' continues in the uptempo, somewhat dense mood of 'Nervous Breakdown', whereas 'Love Is a Game' is a breezy, energetic little pop tune with a good chorus. A special mention to Bernd Gertig for the excellently executed guitar solo on this one, and also in general for finding his place in the poppy arrangements very well - thus adding to the songs ... as opposed to overpowering them! The final track, 'Music's a Way of Life', is a typical Lake album closer: Somewhat melancholic and balladic in style, with a fairly big arrangement to boot. This gets a little too laid-back for me, but I have no doubt that those into pure pop will take to this track big time.

In Summary
As you can probably tell, I genuinely like this Lake album: The quality of the songs is very consistent, and the arrangements and the production are both very well matched with the somewhat poppy direction of the music. Probably not the Lake album with the greatest singular tracks, but all the better as a long player. Recommended!

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