GTR - 1986 GTR

geoviangeovian Earth Orbit
edited August 2 in year-1986


LABEL: Arista
YEAR: 1986
CD REISSUE: 2001, One Way (USA), 351 752 2


LINEUP: Max Bacon - vocals * Steve Howe - guitars * Steve Hackett - guitars * Phil Spalding - bass * Jonathan Mover - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 When The Heart Rules The Mind * 02 The Hunter * 03 Here I Wait * 04 Sketches In The Sun * 05 Jekyll And Hyde * 06 You Can Still Get Through * 07 Reach Out (Never Say No) * 08 Toe The Line * 09 Hackett To Bits * 10 Imagining


This is what we get when we mix two of prog rock's supreme guitarists together. The collaboration of Messrs Howe and Hackett certainly got the rock fraternity a buzz back in 1985/86 and life after Yes/Asia and Genesis for both guitarists became a lot more interesting. Personally I couldn't have given a toss for those two as I was more interested in Max Bacon's vocal prowess matched with Geoff Downes production (Asia keyboardist). I was hoping this was going to turn into an album a la Alaska's 'Heart Of The Storm' but the end result didn't turn out quite like that. Did the success match the supergroup tag heaped on them at the outset? Probably not in commercial terms, but it's pretty good nonetheless, ironically carried off on the power of Bacon's vocals and not the guitar-fest potentially offered by both Steve's.

The Songs

GTR's sound is very traditionally English, and has outbursts of pomp that veer into Americana, though only fleetingly. Overall, we get a mix of Yes, Asia, Alan Parsons Project and Moody Blues on the quieter moments, how English is that! The first single off the album 'When The Heart Rules The Mind' has an interesting arrangement, but I don't think any other singer other than Bacon could've made it sound better. 'The Hunter' has classic Geoff Downes keyboard arrangements all over it, not surprising because he wrote it. A lovely effortless piece of work with drama and atmosphere coursing through it. 'Here I Wait' is fairly dramatic, complete with orchestral stabs and symphonic rock stylings. There are some Middle Eastern influences a la Yes showing up on 'Jekyll And Hyde' while Howe and Hackett trade guitar duels in the middle. 'You Can Still Get Through' is a punchy affair, with a vigourous percussion theme happening courtesy of Jonathan Mover. 'Reach Out' continues the upfront punchiness of the prior song, and demonstrates Bacon's vocal power riding on top of the instrumentation. My favourite track would be 'Toe The Line' a gorgeous acoustic flavoured piece where Max really lets loose in a performance only the top AOR singers can produce. The last track 'Imagining' operates at a tempo somewhere between Yes and Saga, very technical and progressive oriented. A couple of pointless guitar instrumentals fill up an otherwise underrated but great album.

In Summary

Many thought this was a one album band, but there are two other CD releases that I'm aware (I know, because I have both of them), that being the 'Live King Biscuit Flower Hour', and also the technically unreleased 2nd album with the working title 'Nerotrend', with half the tracks sung by Max Bacon, and the other half by Robert Berry (Hush). Well worth tracking down.

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