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 amongst our camp both as something that inspires but also made us chuckle.
“We are living in a sea, nobody can seeeeeee!”
Listen to Topas’ “Train To An Island” on Cottage Country Mix Vol. 4
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 progey bits with acoustic guitar that sound reminiscent of Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, Pink Floyd, Saxon and Scorpions (fans of broken english, european accents we got you with lol).
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 a little inadequate about that one but 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, crashed 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 gem, Topas’s only album is not a “lemon boy, no more!”.
Listen to Topas’ “Lemon Boy” on Cottage Country Mix Vol. 20