Monday, January 15, 2007


I love The Pages. I've been listening to them forever, and spinning one of their records is like coming home, musically speaking. Most of you've never heard about them, I guess. They never had much commercial success with either of their three albums released between 1978 and 1981, but to me, these are simply stellar. My friends at college once pegged me as a guy "searching for stuff no one else has ever found before him". This is the closest I got in music - no one my age had ever heard of this band at the time, I don't even think their records were released in Norway. That made me happy, of course, but even more so, the music!

The heart of the band is Richard Page and Steve George. Of course, these guys went on to bigger things in 1985, with Mr. Mister. But Pages certainly didn't offer us any Kyrie Eleison on Fender Rhodes and ARP2600. Not even close: this is brilliant, clean jazz-pop, mostly without a trace of heavy-handed, sequenced AOR (they were showing signs of it on their 1981 release, luckily they quit in time to save the idiosyncracies of the Pages-project).

Don't get me wrong, I like certain parts of Mr. Mister as well, but it's an entirely different act. This is painstakingly precise studio playing, though still focused on human interaction. The tin machine invasion of the 80s was still out of sight. It's hard to imagine anyone pulling stuff like this off live - if they did it'd be nothing less than amazing (they probably did). There are traces of Steely Dan, but it's softer. It's more about the music, less about the lyrics. There are so many details to focus on, I love listening experiences like that - "oh, that's a cool bass line"; "now, what are they doing here" - "how many modulations did they pull off just there"??

And Page's and George's voices fit each other so perfectly. Many artists took advantage of this, most prominently, at the time, Al Jarreau. They provided him with backing vocals on many of his early '80s records - but their smooth voices were also featured on dozens of other recordings.

John Lang provided the lyrics for most of the songs, as he did for Mr. Mister. The line-up changed a bit from record to record. It's luxurious and comfortable, they're nowhere near the marina - it's yacht at its finest. There's even evidence to support that in a song title, "The Sailor's Song". Nowadays, while I can see why some people would call this stuff bland, I'm simply too attached to the records to ever agree with them. So f*** them.

And now I'm off to do a version of Kyrie Eleison on Fender Rhodes and ARP2600.

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