219. No Glasses Needed – In 3D
NO GLASSES NEEDED (1985)
As many comments on the previously discussed In 3D album (Barrage) have attested, No Glasses Needed in a superior album. In fact, I haven’t double checked the whole list, but this band may be the only artist to record only two albums and have both of them included on this list.
A Little heavier and less “reggae/world music” than the sophomore release, NGN is a great rock album with various influences impacting the overall sound. Relatively strong production (for Refuge records) and great songwriting combined with stellar musicianship and killer vocals to combine a band that should have done much better and had a much longer career.
There are two guests worthy of noting. the first is Glenn Kaiser of Resurrection Band adds some guitar work while Jeff Pollard provided backing vocals. The Pollard inclusion is very interesting and would love to know the story about how he became involved. Pollard is one of my all time favorite vocalists. He appeared on Kerry Livgren’s “Seeds of Change” album as well as being the lead vocalist for the unfortunately unheralded Louisiana band, LeRoux. I saw LeRoux once opening up for Kansas and later learned of Pollard’s influence on Livgren’s conversion. Pollard had renounced rock music after his conversion and entering a Baptist Seminary. His inclusion here is intriguing.
There are so many great rock songs here. Memories of a Man, Can’t Stop and Livin’ In the Real World all would have been hits on Christian rock radio if something like that existed at the time. The latter would hint at the more Police style that would follow on the second album, but with a much more harsh, rock sound and great guitar work.
“It’s Up to You” always sounded like a hard rock version of “Don’t Stand So Close To Me” and am curious if anyone else ever made that connection. The verse structure is so familiar but then the chorus just rocks the house.
I have always considered the uniqueness and lack of a real “consistently commercial” sound hurt the band’s chances at success. It is not a sound that immediately grabs the casual listener and walks such an interesting creative thread, that I could see where many “metal fans and rockers” didn’t think they were hard enough while the straight ahead pop or rock fan found the album too disjointed. But it’s the disjointedness of the album that makes it such a gem.
I do not believe it ever made its way on to CD, and that is real shame given the high production values and longevity musically.
One last note – the song Under My Umbrella is freakin’ brilliant! (that is all)