Wrabit - Tracks (1982/MCA)
WRABIT was a Canadian AOR band that started out their carrier in the late 70’s, playing KANSAS and JOURNEY covers, plus some original songs. Eventually they landed a record deal with MCA, who released the debut album "Wrough And Wready" in 1981. The follow-up album "Tracks", which is about to get reviewed here, came out in 1982 and is widely considered their best record. Previously only available on CD as an expensive Japan-import, "Tracks" has now been re-released by the American re-issue label Renaissance Records.
Not much to say about the CD packaging here. Renaissance seem to operate pretty much in the same way as Retrospect Records (another AOR re-issue label), meaning that they release a lot of CD’s, but rarely puts any effort into the packaging (liner notes etc), and that is also the case here. But who’s complaining?
I’ve searched for this album on CD for several years and I’m happy to finally have it in my collection.
"Tracks" has often been described as somewhat of an AOR classic, but listening to this album now for the first time I have to say that description might be somewhat misleading. Sure, there are several moments of pure AOR here, but overall it’s a pretty heavy record, at least if compared to other so called AOR classics of the same time period.
"Run For Cover" opens the album with a classic heavy metal guitar riff, along the lines of "Heading Out To The Highway" by JUDAS PRIEST. Heavy doses of keyboards and catchy melodies give the track a definitive AOR/melodic hard rock feel though. In any case, the track sports a huge chorus and is certainly one of the album’s highlights. Next up is "Soldier of Fortune", another excellent track once again built around a heavy guitar riff, although the verses are unmistakable AOR. The obligatory ballad we find in the third track "I’ll Never Run Away" - a perfect power ballad if I ever heard one. Singer Lou Nadeau really shines on this one. Moving on "See No Evil" and "Bare Knuckler" are both good numbers, rich on melody and hooks.
Straight AOR ala LOVERBOY is found in "Don't Lose That Feeling", which was the first single of this album. Not a bad track, although the chorus gets a little repetitive. "Unsung Hero" is another track that starts out like a pure metal song, but evolves into a catchy keyboard-driven MHR number. Track 8 "Don't Stop Me Now" is definitely the purest AOR song on the album, where they even incorporate a saxophone into the sound. Great stuff. The last two songs "There Was a Time" and "Castles In The Sky" continue in the same bombastic melodic rock style heard in the beginning of the CD, ending the album on a strong note.
"Tracks" remains a cult favourite amongst many AOR and melodic rock fans around the world, and I can certainly understand why. WRABIT have an exceptional ability to find good melodies and strong, memorable choruses, while the high-pitched vocals of Lou Nadeau give them a rather unique sound that really makes this band stand out. Whether you’re into AOR, hard rock or melodic metal, this is definitely worth getting. Check it out!
Bob Wheeler - s/t
Fury - s/t