Trapeze includes: Mel Galley, Glen Hughes, Dave Holland.
Trapeze were the first act signed by the Moody Blues to their newly founded Threshold Records label, and remain the most substantial talent -- along with Nicky James -- ever to pass through that company's roster, apart from the Moodies themselves. Those listeners who only know the subsequent albums by Trapeze may be surprised by this debut effort, the sole recording left behind by the original five-piece version of the band. With Moody Blues bassist John Lodge producing a lineup that included ex-Montanas lead singer John Jones and guitarist/keyboardist Terry Rowley alongside singer/guitarist Mel Galley, bassist Glenn Hughes, and drummer Dave Holland, late of Finders Keepers, the sounds here don't closely resemble the hard-rocking work of the subsequent trio -- there are lush choruses, psychedelic interludes, and hook-laden romantic ballads scattered throughout this record. Yet that trio, of Hughes, Galley, and Holland, is pumping out high-energy music within the context of psychedelic pop/rock throughout this album, which comes off as a much higher-wattage alternative to the Moody Blues. And in some respects, this album also closely resembles the better moments on those three early Deep Purple albums (the ones with Rod Evans on lead vocals), when they were essentially a hard rock outfit still playing pop/rock -- the results aren't bad and, in fact, are quite catchy at times, but it's clear that three of these musicians are holding back to one degree or another in these surroundings. Galley's high-energy leads and power chords and Hughes' already larger-than-life bass are the dominant sounds about 60 percent of the time, overpowering much around them, with songs like the Galley/Jones-composed "Fairytale" and Hughes-authored "Am I" pointing the way to their future sound -- and even on Rowley's rock ballad "Send Me No More Letters," Holland is playing drums about as hard as the music will permit. The core trio does find a good compromise with Rowley and Jones' more lyrical, psychedelic pop sensibilities, and Trapeze probably could have held this sound together longer than they did but for Jones' and Rowley's departures. But it's also clear that there was another band trying to break out from within the sound of this lineup, which happened later in the year when Trapeze were reduced to a trio. ~ Bruce Eder