This is the second PRISM album released on Renaissance Records. The other one is a best of which will probably be reviewed someday soon. But this album titled 'From the vaults' is another interesting collection of this Canadian AOR/Pomprockband. 'From the vaults' features 20 tracks, of which many are unreleased until now.
Included are B-sides, alternate mixes of PRISM songs of the albums 'Small change' and 'Beat street', unreleased tracks from same album sessions as well as a couple of tracks from their older albums 'See forever eyes', 'Armageddon' and 'Young and restless'.
All in all a fine collection which needs to be in the collection of every AOR and PRISM lover. This CD is really worth your money, because you get twenty tracks on one CD with a full playing time of almost 75 minutes and no fillers are included. Almost all the tracks are classic AOR tracks.
The CD starts with 3 tracks from the 'Beat street' (their last LP release) sessions. "Fine" is an unreleased song, a nice uptempo AOR/Radiorocker a la 707/HEAD EAST with some lovely lead vocals of a guy called Michael Tempo. A lot of session musicians joined PRISM on the recording session of 'Beat street' which resulted in many unreleased songs.
"Fine" features Bobby Kimball (TOTO), Bill Champlin (CHICAGO), Timothy B. Schmitt on backing vocals, Dennis Bellfield on bass, Paul Warren on guitars, Alan Pasqua (GIANT) on keyboards, Richie Zito on guitars, Mike Baird on drums, Jimmy Phillips on keys and Henry Small on keys. A very impressive list! The same musicians can also be heard on the next two tracks "We gotta get outta here:" and "Rain".
"Rain" is the alternate version from the original song of the 'Beat street' album. The song is a DENNIS DE YOUNG kinda ballad. Pretty soft, but very good vocals of Michael Tempo again. This guy can really sing well, but after the recordings of 'Beat street', I never saw his name mentioned somewhere else, a shame, because with such vocal talent he could have been an AOR star.
Anyway, "We gotta get outta here" is a great and very strong midtempo AOR rocker with a lovely hookline and a catchy chorus. Then comes a song called "Cadillac club" which is a short instrumental outtake from the 'Small change' album recording sessions. BRYAN ADAMS is playing some additional guitar on this song.
The following 7 tracks are all again from the 'Beat street' recording sessions and feature all the same musicians as mentioned earlier on, again with the very good vocals of Michael Tempo.
"Don't count me out" is probably the best unreleased track. This song was co-written by BRYAN ADAMS and the guitar intro says it all. This is typical early 80s classic AOR rock a la the Canadian CHAMPION and some ERIC MARTIN BAND/LOVERBOY.
A fantastic song, although the guitar riffs and song style are very similar to two major hits from the same period namely the tracks "Hit me with your best shot" (PAT BENATAR) and "Jessie's girl" (RICK SPRINGFIELD). This PRISM song has the same sound and structure, but was never officially released until now and therefore didn't become the big success PRISM had deserved. A shame because a song like "Don't count me out" had all the ingredients to become a major US Hitsingle back in the early 80s.
The following two tracks "Modern times" and "Dirty mind" were already featured on the 'Beat street' album, but on this CD are alternate versions of them. I always considered these two songs as the weakest moments of 'Beat street' and now we have two alternate versions that leave me cold a bit. Can't say that about the next track "Breakin' away". This is a song written by Henry Small. The song has pretty much the classic early 80s AOR sound with some lovely keys and a killer AOR chorus.
"Breakin' away" is similar in style to sounds of FRANKE AND THE KNOCKOUTS and DAVID ROBERTS. The classic AOR ballad "I don't wanna want you" is sounding like SURVIVOR. Not much new for the PRISM fans, because this song was already on the Beat street' album, only now in an alternate version. A song like this could have been a big hitsingle for sure in the USA back in the early 80s, but I guess the radiostations didn't lay it enough to make it turn out to a huge hitsingle.
Next track "Japanese girl" is a B-side song of one of the singles taken of the 'Beat street' record. The song captures some great early 80s keyboard AOR/Radiorock sounds. It starts as a ballad, but during the chorus it gets more uptempo and rockier ending up sounding like FRANKE AND THE KNOCKOUTS meets DAVID ROBERTS. More of the classic early 80s AOR/Radiorocksound can be heard in the alternate version of "State of the heart".
Then we have had 10 tracks from the 'Beat street' sessions, some unreleased while others are featured in an alternate version. Pretty clear that PRISM sounded a their best during the recordings of 'Beat street', probably due to the great list of guest musicians making up their appearance.
Tracks number 12 and 13 are both the original recordings of the 'Prism' debut album. Probably for the first time on CD, both "Open soul surgery" and the ballad "It's over" sound pretty nice 22 years later. The followings 3 songs are "Take me away" (from 'See forever eyes', nice 70s AOR rocker), "Coming home" (from 'Armageddon', nice 70s midtempo AOR rocker) and "Another world'" (typical PRISM like AOR/Poprocker). These 3 songs are all the original versions of the released songs.
The last 4 tracks are also all released before, but are now featured in an alternate version. "When will I see you again" has now more the structure of a classic early 80s AOR song with some great keys, vocals and a sound somewhere between FRANKE AND THE KNOCKOUTS and a lighter SURVIVOR. This song as well as the following two ("Heart and soul" and "Say") were first featured on the 'Small change' album.
"Heart and soul" is a classic AOR rocker with hooklines here and there. "Stay" was the softest song PRISM ever recorded, kinda like a top-40 aor ballad. The song was written by Canadian rock duo Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance who wrote a lot of AOR rockers together in the 80s such as the PRISM classic "Don't let him know", but this PRISM song "Stay" was one of the softest moments of the band.
Closing track "Is he better than me?" was first released on the 'Beat street' album. This song is classic AOR rock sounding like LOVERBOY at their very best in the 80s. And that ends this wonderful CD of this classic AOR rockband PRISM from Canada.
This CD can not be missed by any fan of PRISM, but also the people who want to hear some pure early 80s AOR/Radiorock must have a listen to this CD. You can get a copy of this CD through Renaissance Records by visiting their website at: http://skymarshall.com/renaissance
E-mail the record company at:
or write to their postal address at: Renaissance Records, PO Box 681786,
Franklin, Tennessee 37068-1786, USA.