Zebra - 1986 3V

Lee South AfricaLee South Africa South Africa
edited August 2 in year-1986


LABEL: Atlantic
SERIAL: 7 81692-2
YEAR: 1986
CD REISSUE: 2001, One Way Records, 35172 (2 on 1 with 'No Tellin' Lies) * 2007, American Beat Records, 24412 (2 on 1 with 'No Tellin' Lies) * 2015, Rock Candy Records, CANDY259


LINEUP: Randy Jackson - vocals, guitars * Felix Hanneman - bass, keyboards * Guy Gelso - vocals, drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Can't Live Without * 02 He's Making You The Fool * 03 Time * 04 Your Mind's Open * 05 Better Not Call * 06 You'll Never Know * 07 About To Make The Time * 08 You're Only Losing Your Heart * 09 Hard Living Without You * 10 Isn't That The Way


Zebra were formed in 1975, but had to wait eight years to be signed to Atlantic Records.

After a well received debut and, by the band's own admission, a rushed second effort, this third album is their masterpiece.

They achieve a very full sound for a three piece, full of melodic twists and turns.

Randy's siren vocals often pierce the sky, showcasing his ability to operate a few octaves higher than most others.

On this platter we're treated to uptempo anthems, some quieter moments and a few welcome mid tempo classics as well.

The Songs

'Can't Live Without' starts us off with a majestic hook and big mid 80's keyboards.

This is one of those tracks where Zebra's power and inventiveness come through strongly, with a stunning post chorus bridge and melodic vocal gymnastics to close off a classic AOR song.

Sadly the wider public were not convinced, despite it's enjoyable video, the only one filmed for this album.

'He's Making You The Fool' continues the melodic trend, applying a mid tempo approach and a chorus very similar to Rush's 'Marathon' from their 'Power Windows' record.

'Time' is the album's longest cut (5:21), beginning with an introspective acoustic verse and taking many twists and turns from there, most of them melodic and rewarding.

We're back to mid tempo for 'Your Mind's Open', a catchy slice of semi acoustic AOR, again full of rich keyboards and a melodic style all their own.

They're waving the AOR Anthem banner again on the next one, 'Better Not Call'. It's an exhibition of AOR melodies, with yet another magical second bridge after each chorus. Once again the keys are wonderful and a blistering guitar outro gives Randy a chance to prove his fretmath prowess.

'You'll Never Know' is a worthy gateway to side 2, featuring all the melodic ingredients we AORsters crave. Such a pity it's so short at under 3 minutes!

Drifting in on a New Orleans flavoured acoustic guitar, 'About To Make The Time' builds into an engaging power ballad, employing the much loved AOR device of the big chorus rising powerfully out of a sedate verse.

'You're Only Losing Your Heart' is probably the album's most ordinary track, but still melodic and quite enjoyable.

The two closing tracks are both stunners. 'Hard Living Without You' lifts the anthem flag for another salute, while 'Isn't That The Way' provides a sensational mid tempo album closer, a virtual catalogue of all the ingredients that made the album so memorable thus far.

In Summary

To be honest there is no throwaway track on display.

For those interested in tracking it down on CD, it's just been reissued by One Way Records, as a 2 on 1 CD with their second album 'No Telling Lies'.

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