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Monday, March 9, 2015

Prism - See Forever Eyes~, Small Change*

Band: Prism
Albums: See Forever Eyes~, Small Change*
Year: 1978~, 1981*
Style: Rock, Prog, Power Pop, Southern Rock
Similar Bands: Rush, ELO, Supertramp, Kansas, Air Supply* Foreigner*
One Word Review: Rent-to-Own-Rock~, Not-Nontoxic Muzak*
Based Out Of: Vancouver, Canada
Label: Ariola Records~, Capitol*
See Forever Eyes - Cover & Record~
See Forever Eyes - Back & Record~
Small Change - Cover & Record*
 Small Change - Back, Record*
See Forever Eyes (1978)~
  1. Hello 2:43
  2. Flyin 4:34
  3. Nickles and Dimes 4:04
  4. Crime Wave 4:36
  5. You're Like the Wind 3:44 /
  6. N-N-N-NO! 2:51
  7. Take Me Away 3:18
  8. You're My Reason 3:36
  9. Just Like Me 4:40
  10. See Forever Eyes 5:10
Small Change (1981)*
  1. Don't Let Him Know 3:09
  2. Turn On Your Radar 3:14
  3. Hole In Paradise 3:25
  4. Rain 4:05
  5. When Will I See You Again 3:35/
  6. Heart & Soul 3:35
  7. Stay 3:31
  8. When Love Goes Wrong (You're Not Alone) 3:30
  9. In The Jailhouse Now 3:03
  10. Wings of Your Love 3:41
Album Rating (1-10)~7.0
*5.0

Members & Other Bands:
Allen Harlow - Rhythm Guitar / Bass~* (Seeds of Time, Big Joe Turner, Solomon Burke)
Ron Tabak - Vox~ (Not Fragile)
Lindsay Mitchell - Lead Guitar~* (William Tell & the Marksmen, Seeds of Time, Sunshyne, Stanley Screamer, Trainwreck, Jim Byrnes, Bryan Adams)
Rocket Norton - Drums~* (Seeds of Time, Einstein, Vancouver Ensemble of Jazz Improvisation)
John Hall - Keys~*(Bachman Turner Overdrive, Fine Young Cannibals, Kissing the Pink, Sandals, John Berry, Suzy Bogguss, Dan Mahar, Gwen Sebastian,
Bruce Fairbairn - Producer, Management~ (Sunshyne)
Wolf Hennemann - Cheif Recording and Mixing Engineer~
Jeff Tolman - Engineer Asst~
Keith Stern - Recording Engineer~
Roger Monk - Engineer Asst~
Jeff Turner - Recording Engineer~
James O'Mara - Art Direction, Photography, Tinting~*
Bruce Allen - Management~*
Lea de Carlo - Mixing~
Henry Small - Vox* (Gainsborough Gallery, Scrubbaloe, Eddie Money, Razor Baby, Small Wonder, John Entwistle, Doug Cox)
Steve Crimmel - Asst Engineer*
Roy Kohara - Art Direction*
Ken Perry - Mastering*
Carter - Producer*
Warren Dewey - Engineering*
Richard "Beef" McKernan - Asst. Engineer*

Unknown-ness: I've never heard of this band. But I got these two records independently of each other at different thrift stores. The logo is pretty cool and the band name is a favorite brewery of mine. The back of the albums makes me think they will be some sort of 79's hard rock band, like Ace, but their look is a little more prog-like. No reason it can't be a classic rock, prog band, so that's what I'm assuming I'll hear with these records.

Album Reviews: Prism was a merger of two Canadian bands, orchestrated by producer Fairbairn. These are two of their 13 albums they’ve release in their career. In 1981, they finally won the Canadian Juno award for Group of the Year. One of their songs “Spaceship Superstar” from their first album was chosen by Spaceship Discovery for their wake-up song. Tabak passed away in 1984 as the result of an undiagnosed blood clot in his brain following a bike accident that changed his personality and landed him in jail. Harlow is still actively carrying the band’s name in a revived incarnation.

~“Hello” starts out with cheery synth and power pop ELO structure, like a lighter Cheap Trick. The instrumental guitar solo remains constricted and does not unleash energy as crazy as it wants to. Near the end of the song, the prog-like synth battles it out with the guitar.
“Flyin” was written by Harlow and was released as a single. It has a bouncy marching bass line, and then a synth line zooms in to take over the song’s direction. The slowish, steady pace of the song allows for some well song, and well harmonized vocal melodies. It creates a nice range for the chorus to really lift off, with a near Supertramp-like chorus. It is a pretty straightforward, complex-free song.
“Nickels and Dimes” brings out the down and dirty pub rock side to their resume. It is bluesy with a full horn section, and at the same time, resonates with a Southern Rock mentality, and a bit of the Rolling Stones. The solo is controlled by the church organ’s melody in the fore-front. The catchy chorus is a bit overused, and it is even on repeat when the song fades out.
“Crime Wave” brings the same pub rock guitar, but mixes it with a disco-space new wave synth line. The song has a heavier tone to it than before, so this falls into more of a metal vein than the Southern Rock style. Especially when it comes to the solo, which is a total wailing crying guitar. The synth effects are there just to throw off the listener, and are trying to be too pretty. The end adds in, for no real reason, a twinkling piano in the fade out.
“You're Like the Wind” was written by departed drummer Jim Vallance, AKA Rodney Higgs and also released as a single. It is a slow mover, and a grower. The melodic vocals sweetly carry the listener over a tender sentiment and a sad, memory on the open prairie. With the slide guitar, and haunting keyboard echo, this could be considered a true power ballad; not one that actually rocks out.

“N-N-N-NO!” was written by departed drummer Jim Vallance, AKA Rodney Higgs. A bowling strike kicks off the song, and it’s followed by pub & power rock guitars. The vocals are higher than the rest of the album’s been. This is a solid power pop song, with just the right jitteriness. It even employs minor harmonizing that bolster’s the song’s intensity.
“Take Me Away” was written by Harlow and was released as a single. It begins as a drippingly slow jangle rock guitar. Power chords are used below the Big Star like production. For the instrumental breakdown, dual harmonized guitars play side by side giving the song the full prog treatment.
“You're My Reason” begins with a slow piano, and I get the feeling it will launch into a Journey type song. But it continues slow, with quiet vocals. It is a piano ballad, with whispy, early Bee Gees style harmonies and a total organic feel. This is the high school slow dance.
“Just Like Me” has a pop-punk guitar at the outset, and it transitions into a Garry Glitter knock off sound. The vocals are kinda what you would expect from a metal band, but part show-tuney too. The instrumental guitar has a good blend of southern rock and metal, leaning slightly toward the former.
“See Forever Eyes” was one of the singles. It begins with a total jittery synth line, and is followed up with power-bombastic guitars. The synth melts away, and the guitar and vocals take charge and clean up the complexity. It ends where the album started, with a pleasant harmonized power pop tune with all of the verocity as “I wanna rock and roll all night, and party every day.” The instrumental starts with guitars, and just when you think this is the place that the synth hook from the intro could come back, it does to a minimal degree. The chorus, when it comes back again for the third round, installs its hook in to your mind, and you can’t help but toe-tap along. The vocals are drowned out by the synth at the end of the song as it fades out.

*“Don't Let Him Know” reached US top 40 single ranking and was written by Jim Vallance and Bryan Adams. It begins exactly like “Hit Me With Your Best Shot.” The guitar quiets down, and the prog songscape begins, like “Carry On My Wayward Son.” The chorus is a strong, but brief power pop dabble. But the song feels superficial and even a little overproduced. With this, they have become just another pop rock hair band act. It fades out just when it feels like it is getting going.
“Turn On Your Radar” was also a single, charting in the US. It too is light on the production, with a much smoother, limp sound. The synth is no longer zooming or spacey, but has the much more mid 80’s style of light, neutered island sound. They even pick up the stereotypical synthesized harmonica. It is a little surprising that this production style was employed already at 1981, as it sounds much more fitting for 1985.
“Hole In Paradise” has a rocking guitar in the intro, but even that is stripped away of all its analog nature, and sounds like the edges are filtered out so it can match the twinkling synth. The song build progressively, but everything sounds scaled back. The chorus, when it finally gets there 2 minutes into the song, is catchy, but it could be a whole lot better with different style choices.
“Rain” was the first single released. The song starts out like an Air Supply song, as it is on some personality uplifting enhancement drug. The song is kind of terrible, even the lyrics are embarrassing. The music sounds like they forgot to produce it. Like they stuck in a metronome synth place holder, and never came back to it to flesh it out. There is a drum machine kick beat that is stronger in the chorus, but it is probably a real drum produced to sound synthetic. Like beating on dead wood.
“When Will I See You Again” has a distinctly Foreigner feel to it in the verse. The verse is much more poppy, like a generic Elton John piano based hook, but not as energetic or catchy.

“Heart & Soul” tries to take the band back to the hard rock guitar sound from before, but again, it seems to fall short right out of the gate. It sounds like music made for kids to play for their parents in order to get them to buy them other, real “metal” records.
“Stay” sounds like it is a church song. The gentle piano and quietly soaring organ give the feeling of a jesus-tune. It also sounds a little like it is going to turn into “Against All Odds” at any point.
“When Love Goes Wrong (You're Not Alone)” continues with the god-praise feel, perhaps with a little bit of a Supertramp vocal melody. The bridge into the chorus picks up the energy, and it releases fully in the bold chorus, in a pretty solid fashion, especially considering the feeble music that surrounds the vocals. I think there is even a bit of slap bass sound put on a regular bass line. And as if the tape ran out the song fades pretty quickly.
“In The Jailhouse Now” has a nice driving melody, but damn, if the guitar doesn’t sound like it’s filtered down into a single synthetic sound. Only the vocals sound the solidarity bit of organic-ness in a soup of chemical ingredients.
“Wings of Your Love” is a slow, not-quite-ballad side to side swaying song with a touch of bluesy soul. It is a love song, sung with a soaring guitar in the background and a yearning in the vocals.

Stand Out Tracks:~N-N-N-NO!
*Don't Let Him Know

Links:
Wiki
Official Website
Allmusic
Discogs
Amazon
Jim Vallance
Canadian Bands

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