This is another one of those relatively obscure rock albums, like Sir Lord Baltimore (that also made our 10-day album challenge) in that both bands were on a major label, but unfortunately had very few albums. Baltimore with two albums and Topas (here) with only one. That being said the self-titled, Topas (1980) is a gem. Now, Topas (for us at cottagemixtape.com) went beyond just being featured on Cottage Country Mix but became a sort of source of inspiration and amusement among our camp. Amusement being the perfect would both something that inspires but also made us chuckle.
We are living in a sea, nobody can seeeeeee! – from “Train To An Island”
When we heard first heard Topas, we were captivated. It was hard rock, with metal leanings, galloping basslines and disco-breakdowns, but also cinematic elements and progy bits with acoustic guitar. With sounds that are reminiscent of Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, Pink Floyd, Saxon and Scorpions (fans of broken english, european accents we got you with, ha).
Eventually, we were habitually and spontaneously singing lines from the songs. When it got too quiet, you would catch yourself singing it: “Take a ticket, take a ticket, Train to an island!” (from the track “Train To An Island”). What does that even mean? A hard rock song about going on vacation. Where is this island? I don’t think I have ever taken a train to an island? A boat or one of them small propeller planes sure but a train (feeling inadequate). I digress, or we would break out into song like the opening track, “Hurricane”: “Like a hurricane, a hurricane, like a hurincaanneeeee!“
However, once we heard “Lemon Boy” we were floored: the vocal echoes (“go go go”). The music sounds like the 2nd floor rock band, crashing down into the first floor discotheque below, with its wailing guitars and disco beat. When we heard the lines “this time you have gone to far for me, lemon tree” we thought it was hilarious, recollecting the Lemon Tree episode in the Simpsons. A forgotten jem, Topas’s only album is not a “lemon boy, no more!”.
Songs from “Topas” appears on Cottage Country Mix: