‘Clear Approach’ is Trillion’s second album, and if you’re looking for an AOR album of sheer class, where pomp rock and west coast tendencies are woven together with style, you’ve just found it.
Written by: Lee South Africa
ALBUM: Clear Approach
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Thom Griffin – vocals, guitars * Frank Barbalace – guitars, vocals * Pat Leonard – keyboards, piano * Ron Anaman – bass, vocals * Bill Wilkins – drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 Make Time For Love * 02 Love Me Anytime * 03 I Know The Feeling * 04 Make It Last Forever * 05 Promises * 06 Cities * 07 What Can You Do? * 08 Clear Approach * 09 Wishing I Knew It All
If you’re looking for an AOR album of sheer class, where pomp rock and west coast tendencies are woven together with style, you’ve just found it with Trillion’s second album.
Trillion had released their pomp rocking debut two years before, with the legendary Fergie Frederiksen on vocals. You’d think that losing him would be a huge blow, but enter the angelic pipes of Thom Griffin – to these ears part Tommy Shaw and part Bobby Kimball.
The opening track ‘Make Time For Love’ is the only one not written by the band, perhaps betraying Epic’s lack of trust in their songwriting abilities. Although it’s a catchy rocker in the Styx vein, it’s probably the weakest track on display. ‘Love Me Anytime’ immediately sets the record straight with it’s west coast tinkling and assured class. There’s a recurring hook at work here that’s very reminiscent of classic early Toto.
Coming in at track three, ‘I Know The Feeling’ is truly magnificent. Moving along with a graceful elegance and boasting a stunning uptempo chorus, imagine Blue Oyster Cult gone west coast and you’re close. There’s even an extended instrumental break which ventures into Lee Ritenour territory, with tasteful fusion soloing and tinkling aplenty.
Next up is ‘Make It Last Forever’, yet another stunner. Beginning with a protracted intro full of hooks and momentum, the verse brings out some classy acoustic strumming and you’d swear that Tommy Shaw singing. Rising out of the restrained verse is a thrilling pomp anthem chorus that would be equally at home on Roadmaster‘s ‘Sweet Music’ album.
‘Promises’ is the archetype mid tempo Trillion song, complete with elegant harmonised verses and a simple chorus which, quite honestly, works perfectly. Once again, the brilliant melody and well crafted arrangement will leave you searching for the right superlatives.
Beginning with more west coast piano tinklings and smooth vocals, ‘Cities’ eventually picks up some serious momentum and then turns more tempo corners, surely one of the classic west coast anthems. ‘What Can You Do’ is the album’s quirky track, quite similar to ‘Fancy Action’ from the debut album. There’s more than enough melody to keep us interested, and a hook of the highest caliber.
The title track ‘Clear Approach’ and ‘Wishing I knew It All’ close the album in elegant and inventive style, bringing off the pomp rock/west coast hybrid seamlessly. The melodies and hooks are trademark Trillion originals, surely a highlight of this gem.
The downside is that Trillion did not record a follow up to this classic album, and we’re all hoping for a reunion and new album sometime in the future. ‘Clear Approach’ and the self titled debut are now available on CD courtesy of Epic/Sony Japan, and also Rock Candy Records.
Make Time For Love
What Can You Do