Prototype were a Canadian band who acquired a ‘near-classic’ reputation among the collectors out there. I was certainly interested to see if the hype was justified when I heard about them.
Written by: gdmonline
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Canada
LINEUP: Doug Riley – vocals * Dan Lowe – guitars * Brad Steckel – guitars, bass, vocals * Ted Alexander – keyboards, vocals * Brian Island – bass, vocals * Jerry Adolphe – drums, percussion
TRACK LISTING: 01 Behind Your Eyes * 02 Video Kids * 03 Mean Street * 04 I’m Sorry * 05 Communique * 06 Live Forever * 07 Soldier * 08 I Want You * 09 Any Moment * 10 Money Talks
Prototype were a Canadian band who acquired a ‘near-classic’ reputation among the collectors out there. I was certainly interested to see if the hype was justified when I heard about them. You’ll have to read on. The main stalwart of the band was Dan Lowe, a guy who had been sighted in earlier outfits such as Painter, Hammersmith and 451 degrees. The latter band also included one Brad Steckel, and it was from this union that Prototype were formed.
The band and their one and only album is certainly a stab at 80’s AOR, particularly of the pompiest kind. Acts like Russ Ballard, Charlie and ‘Turn Out The Lights’ era Tycoon are the major comparisons here. The songs are quite varied, and thankfully not one of them sounds the same as each other.
Starting out with ‘Behind Your Eyes’, this is trademark Canadian AOR, an insistent keyboard attack straight from the 80’s. You’ll hear all the sound effects on ‘Video Kids’, the track not really coming to life until the chorus, and coming off like a poor mans Beau Geste, especially those parpy keyboard layers.
‘Mean Street’ is a great harder-edged effort, like the stuff Russ Ballard cut his teeth on. One of the album highlights is the meandering ‘I’m Sorry’, the keyboard solo lands it in pomp territory. Riley’s lead vocals sounds unerringly like Wayne Nelson of LRB, which is great as I love Wayne’s voice.
‘Communique’ on the other hand, is a heavy and urgent piece, with a determined back-beat and driving chorus. The ending is quite sudden too. ‘Live Forever’ has the same sort of pompy feel that early Allies or Thrills would contain, though admittedly the chorus was a bit predictable.
That’s offset by the excellent ‘Soldier’, the guitar/keyboard interplay on this one is so strong. The other album highlight for me is the melodic ‘I Want You’, tinkly keyboard effects and enough moments to make it interesting. The pair which finish up the album don’t do a great deal for me I’m afraid: ‘Any Moment’ and ‘Money Talks’.
For those of you who have read the erstwhile mag AOR Classics, the guys there gave it a 10 out of 10. I wouldn’t go that far, as that would imply by coincidence that all ten tracks on here are superb. Unfortunately they are not. Still a good collectors piece, and I know many of you are trying to track this down. Well, you can easily grab a copy from Pacemaker Records in Canada, the album receiving a CD release in 2001 and is readily available.