Buffalo’s TALAS had gone through many changes over their years of activity from the early 70s to the mid 80s. The 3-man line up of Billy Sheehan, Paul Varga and Dave Cosentino had reunited a number of times, but in 2017 Billy Sheehan reassembled the last incarnation of the band he was in (pre David Lee Roth Band; MK 2) – with singer Phil Naro, drummer Mark Miller, and new guitarist Kire Najdovski (in place of Mitch Perry). The band played several shows over the few years prior to Covid shutting down shows, and then the passing of Phil Naro (RIP). But in there the band signed with Metal Blade and recorded a new album. In fact they recorded the album they really intended to in 1985! Almost all of these songs came from that period of the band, with a couple having been included on the band’s 1984 live release Live Speed On Ice. So, for fans one could say this was long overdue and a most welcome album.
1985 kicks off with “Inner Mounting Flame”, a hard driving fast rocker that sets the tone for what’s to come, you’d be hard pressed to find a better album opener IN 1985! The album was recorded in Mark Miller’s house, and it’s very energetic and has a very live feel to it all. Tracks like “Do You Feel Any Better” (originally on the live ’84 album), “On The Take”, “Come When You Call”, “I’ll Take The Night”, and “Close To The Killer” are all enjoyable Talas rockers. Also included is “Power To Break Away”, which pre-dates the Phil Naro years (see youtube), and debuted on Mk 1’s 1998 live album If We Only Knew Then What We Know Now, and “Crystal Clear” – which also was included on the live ’84 album, as well as covered by Jim Crean (on his Velvet Crush album, feat Naro on backing vocals). The one ‘new’ track is “Black & Blue”, which a bit slower paced, near ballad; Phil’s vocal on the verses reminds me a bit of Kiss’ “I Love It Loud”. A good addition to the mix.
A great return album from Talas, though saddened that Phil Naro is no longer here to see it and see the reaction. The guy did an amazing job leaving fans with 2 excellent albums – Talas 1985 and Lips Turn Blue LTB (released a few months ago). Rockers will dig this album, it sounds awesome, probably a bit heavier than Talas’ 2 early studio albums, with lots of cool intros, riffs, and guitar solos. Love the album cover, very 80s, very fitting!