Breathless, a Cleveland based band were an accident just waiting to happen, that’s how the story goes according to main-man Jonah Koslen, who at that stage of his burgeoning career had just walked away from a stint with the Michael Stanley Band.
Written by: gdmonline
LABEL: EMI America
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Jonah Koslen – vocals, guitars * Alan Greene – guitars * Mark Avsec – keyboards, vocals * Bob Benjamin – bass, vocals * Rodney Psyka – percussion, vocals * Kevin Valentine – drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 Walk Right In * 02 Dead Of The Night * 03 Let Me Down Easy * 04 Looks Like Its Heartaches (Without End) * 05 Unchained Lightning * 06 Takin’ It Back * 07 Nothing’s Gonna Change My Mind * 08 Glued To The Radio * 09 Alibi’s * 10 Ends Of The Earth
Breathless, a Cleveland based band were an accident just waiting to happen. That’s how the story goes according to main-man Jonah Koslen, who at that stage of his burgeoning career had just walked away from a stint with the Michael Stanley Band.
Determined to carry on where he left off with MSB, Jonah set about recruiting local talent for Breathless. Indeed the lineup is a snapshot of who was hot in the Cleveland scene back then. In fact, between Breathless, and other (and future) outfits from the area, namely Donnie Iris, The Innocent, and the aforementioned MSB, there is a distinct look and feel of musical ‘incestuousness’ about it.
I’m not complaining, because the debut Breathless album from a pomp rockers perspective does indeed leave you close to that state of (dare I say it) breathlessness. Apart from those listed above, the original line-up included Susan Lynch on keyboards, who was replaced by George Sipl (who went on to join American Noise), who in turn was replaced by the talented Mark Avsec.
The bright opening of ‘Walk Right In’ kicks opens the door to the Breathless honey-pot, resplendent with some neat solo pieces from everyone’s favourite keyboardist Avsec. The happy theme continues with ‘Dead Of The Night’, a comparison to Couchois and their slight funky overtones can be made.
Ballad city strikes early with ‘Let Me Down Easy’, a spacious near-grandiose piece of piano inspired wonderment. Despite the quiet introspective start, ‘Unchained Lightning’ lives up to its name, the arrangement heading off to a late 70’s rock/disco groove. Dontcha just love that funky bass!
One of my fave tracks on the album is the effortless ‘Takin’ It Back’, reminding me of the first Balance album – a simple but hooky chorus guaranteed to catch ya hook line and sinker! Landing somewhere close to the zone that Peppy Castro and co cleared for themselves is ‘Ends Of The Earth’ – another Balance flavoured tune, even before the real-deal eventuated.
Somehow they manage to combine a reggae flavour with radio-rock stylings on ‘Glued To The Radio’, a trait that only the Eagles and the B.E Taylor Group have managed to master over the years, while ‘Alibis’ is more in keeping with the style heard on Jonah’s Ghost Poets 1993 effort.
This album was recorded in Miami with Don Gehman at the helm. The band followed this up with ‘Nobody Leaves This Song Alive’ during 1980. According to sources, Breathless toured with Kiss but ran out of (you guessed it..) breath during 1981/82.
The members moved on to stints with some of those aforementioned Cleveland acts listed above. Both Breathless albums can be found on a combined 15 track CD called ‘Picture This – The Best Of Breathless’ released by Razor And Tie in 1993.
Now available from the Jonah Koslen website is a further Breathless recording ‘Live In The Bubble’, featuring many unreleased tracks from the band, who as it turns out, had a large collection of material from their vaults recorded during their heyday. A good band to investigate for lovers of radio rock with a pomp edge!
Takin’ It Back
Dead Of The Night
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