sábado, 6 de julho de 2019

POST TOASTÉÉ - Take You Home Tonight (7'', FMS Records, 1983)


Though not a complete unknown for early NWOBHM aficionados, the only 7'' by East Anglia's Post Toastéé became a much more sought-after piece in later years, which means it's now quite more difficult (and expensive) to obtain a copy than it was a decade ago, for instance. It's an endeavor that only seasoned (and wealthy) collectors should really bother to engage into, though, as most of us will be well served with the mp3 files that are floating around online, and it's hard to justify such a significant investment in terms of musical merits alone - it does have one pretty nice song out of two, as I'm about to elaborate, but most of us simply won't be willing to pay three-figure prices for one song, you know. That being said, and despite the lack of useful info at present (if the band's name rings any bells, send us an e-mail, will you?), there are well enough things to be said in a individual review.

Released by the mysterious FMS Records (probably a self-financed release, you know) sometime in 1983, their sole claim to fame comes in an unassuming (though surely distinctive enough) cover with the band's logo and a few basic details about recording and personnel. "Take You Home Tonight" is the A-side, and it's pretty much a pop rock tune with disco leanings, most apparent in the harmonized vocals and drumwork. The keyboards use some typical Casio effects that really didn't stood well the test of time (not his fault really, just a case of hopelessly dated aesthetics) and the chorus is as radio-friendly as it gets, so it's easy to assume they didn't exactly have the heavy metal fraternity in mind while writing and recording this one. Hardly recommended for diehard metalheads, I'm afraid.

But not all is lost though, as flipside "Little Too Late" gets undeniably closer to the NWOBHM tastes, though it's more of a Uriah Heep-ish style of 70s hard rock rather than anything more contemporary. The keyboard/guitar interplay works nicely, with a very evident fondness for Deep Purple going on (not a surprise I guess, as the Post Toastéé name is probably taken from a solo effort from Tommy Bolin), and the simple-but-effective rhythm section carries the song along very efficiently. The singer's voice works quite well here too, with a nice chorus and all, and it's safe to assume that "Little Too Late" will be regarded as a very acceptable tune by most NWOBHM enthusiasts out there. Good stuff, and well enough to deserve a 3-star rating after all.

Post Toastéé seems to have been a brief episode in the lives of those involved, presumably being no longer active well before the second half of the 1980s. I have no idea if the Steve Underwood here mentioned is the same one who runs the punk/noise/minimal wave Harbinger Sound label, also acting as a producer / manager for a lot of bands roughly in the same music style; I wouldn't be too surprised if it turns out to be the case, though such a shift in music personality would perhaps come as a surprise for some. A certain Andy Bull seems to have had a minor level of involvement with a post-IQ outfit called Niadem's Ghost, as well as doing some engineering work here and there, but I'd like to have more conclusive evidence before building the bridge between this individual and the one playing bass for Post Toastéé. Keyboard player Michael Cocksedge is the only ex-member whose whereabouts I can conclusively decline right now, as he's playing bass guitar with a tribute band called The Pure Floyd Show.

Many thanks to Discogs for sleeve pictures!

Steve Underwood (V), Dave Kenton (G/V), Andy Bull (B/V), Michael Cocksedge (K), Chas Coles (D). Songs written and produced by Post Toastéé.

01. Take You Home Tonight
02. Little Too Late

Have you been involved with any of the bands mentioned here? Have any extra info and/or corrections? Please e-mail me (drequon@gmail.com) and let me know!

quinta-feira, 4 de julho de 2019

PARADYNE (UK) - Down to Amsterdan (7'', Airship, 1982)


Once a truly elusive curiosity in the NWOBHM universe, Paradyne had become less of an obscurity in recent years - not that every single detail of their history had been made available, you see, but at least I'm able to tell a few interesting and/or meaningful things about them, which is always a good thing I guess. Hailing from the West Sussex of England (more specifically from the city of Chichester), the group seems to have gravitated together in the final part of the 1970s, and it seems to have been a somewhat successful live act in their geographical area, with some well-humored tales about their drum stage made out of bed frames and all that. How's that for DIY spirit, eh? Less-than-professional stage solutions aside, it's obvious that their collective abilities were more than respectable, and local Airship label didn't waste much time before offering the band the chance to lay down two tracks for a 7'' single, released sometime in 1982.

Both tracks here featured were written by mainman Mark White (V/G), and it seems he was helped by accomplices Paul White (G, a relative perhaps?), John Biddiscombe (B) and Gary Halls (D) during most of the band's lifespan, which most probably includes this recording session. I must say that Mark White isn't exactly the most proficient singer you'll ever hear in your life, but he had a fair bit of potential as a songwriter, and NWOBHM addicts will surely have a good enough return for their money - and hold no illusions, you'll hardly find this one in the bargain bin of your local record store.

"Down to Amsterdan", apparently the main focus of interest here, is you typical mid-paced NWOBHM ditty, that kind of tune that can't be disliked without a great deal of grumpiness, but still not strong enough to really stand out in the crowd. It's quite a long track too, and it could easily be 2 minutes shorter without losing anything too important in the process. The sedated instrumental section halfway through is a nice touch, though it goes along a little longer than it probably should. And Mr. White's voice reminds me of someone... Oh yeah, Ethel the Frog's Doug Sheppard that is! I'm glad I finally made the connection. Flipside "Take Your Time" is a bit more restrained than it could be perhaps, but with very substantial guitar work and a fairly intense solo. The song structure gets slightly surprising towards the end, and it's the exact twist it needed to keep the listener's attention all the way through. Not a classic by any stretch, but surely the better of the pair, and enjoyable enough to warrant a few careful listens from time to time.

Curiously, there are two variations for the single (no copies ever issued with a picture sleeve), with alternate white or red labels on the B-side, both presenting an illustration with the band's logo and a guitar neck breaking through a glass mirror or something. The red variation is way less common than the white one, but I don't think any of you should lose any sleep over this, as even the 'standard' version is quite rare and a truly good find for any dedicated collector. As for Paradyne, it seems the outfit didn't last for too long after making their vinyl debut, disbanding in 1983 or thereabouts. I'm not sure what happened really, though I suppose it's the typical case of a band that naturally ran its course rather than anything more tragic and/or sinister. If you happen to know more (or if you once had some role in Paradyne's fortunes, who knows), I would wholeheartedly enjoy getting in touch with you, as I really have fun listening to the music and I'm sure many readers would love to learn some extra facts about the band.

Million thanks to Discogs for label scans!

Mark White (V/G), Paul White (G), John Biddiscombe (B), Gary Halls (D). All music and lyrics by Mark White.

01. Down to Amsterdan 6:14
02. Take Your Time 6:01

Have you been involved with any of the bands mentioned here? Have any extra info and/or corrections? Please e-mail me (drequon@gmail.com) and let me know!