TALAS – “1985”

By Colonel Angus

TALAS was a band that should have had a bigger and longer career. Just as things were coming together, Billy Sheehan was recruited for Dave Lee Roth’s solo band and TALAS was no more. I always felt that the band that recorded “Live Speed on Ice” (the live record) would have produced a great studio album but it was not meant to be….until now. The line-up that created that live record (minus Mitch Perry for almost all of the new disk) went into the studio and recorded songs that were written back in 1985 (hence the title). Taking over for guitars is Kire Najdovski who fits in perfectly but Mitch Perry does make an appearance on a couple of tracks (more on that later).

I have to say that this collection of songs captures the sound and vibe of the band’s earlier work and feels like a continuation of the previous line-up. If I had not read about how this record came to be, I would have thought this was the long lost studio record that was supposed to come out after “Live Speed on Ice”. Right from the opening riffs of “Inner Mounting Flame”, the band is top form and play like they mean business. While the actual recording on this record does sound a little cleaner that their last record “Sink Your Teeth Into That”, it does not utilize all the new studio gadgets and keeps things in a more organic, older sound. “I’ll Take the Night” has a great fast pace where each instrument speeds along almost trying to beat the other instruments to the end. It’s perfect controlled chaos and shows that although TALAS were more of a rock band, they could still work in some very heavy metal elements to their overall sound.

There were a couple of tunes that made their appearance on their live record that didn’t appear on any studio albums. “Crystal Clear” and “Do You Feel Any Better” were both on “Live Speed on Ice” but here is their studio counterparts and I have to admit that I like these studio version better than the previous live versions. “Crystal Clear” does sound like something from the 80s and it’s a shame they never put out the studio version back in the day because it would have been a hit. It has a riff that would have fit on any POLICE record and melody for days. I have been humming that song since I was given the record to review. The other track “Do You Feel Any Better” sounds great on “1985” but I prefer the live version as I feel it is meant for the stage. There are many high points on the record and I would suggest listening to it from start to finish but if you are pressed for time, “Come When You Call”, “On the Take”, and “Don’t Try to Stop Me Tonight” are also worthy tune to listen to along with the previously mentioned material. The disk ends with a short bass solo tune called “7IHd h” which is great but I would have made that piece an intro to another song.

Overall, I feel that this is a great record and is a fitting successor to “Sink Your Teeth Into That”. When you put this disk in the player, you’ll be transported back to the mid-80s when this record should have been released. Although it didn’t make its way into the record bins back then, I am glad that it finally did see the light of day. Sadly, we lost Phil Naro last year but “1985” shows him to be a powerhouse vocalist fronting a band that should have been more popular. Now is your chance to discover this classic American rock band.