Album review: ZON – Astral Projector/ORPHAN – Salute

Rock Candy [Release date 20.03.20]

ZON - Astral Projector

ZON – Astral Projector + 4

The band members’ post Zon experiences are arguably more colourful than their brief, 2 album grab at fame and fortune. And yet, the 1978 debut, “Astral Projector” promised so much.

Often mentioned in the same breath as Styx, a real forensic examination of the band’s sound would more likely give up fellow Canadians, Saga, as Zon’s true musical blood brothers. Contemporary reviews were positive, highlighting the band’s ambitious merge of pop, pomp and prog. And arguably, the artfully shaped pomp of the lyrically challenging ‘Point Of View’, and the dramatic closing track, ‘Hollywood’ are as much influenced by the avant garde, sonic adventurism of the late sixties, as they were by the Progressive Rock of the seventies.

This remaster includes 4 bonus tracks. Subtly different alternative takes of ‘On The Road’ and the title track; the frenetic, previously unreleased ‘The Battle’, and the full, mind blowing version of ‘Hollywood’.

ORPHAN - Salute

ORPHAN – Salute

Enduringly popular post Pumps’ Canadian band, Orphan released “Salute” in 1985, as a follow up to their best selling debut, “Salute The Night”. The programmed eighties’ production sound, favoured by US bands like Wang Chung, doesn’t always work here… and it’s one of those rare occasions where the cold clarity of the remastering dynamic doesn’t really do it any favours. But they were masters of the parallel keyboard/guitar motif, driving the songs always onwards, giving them the kind of urgency normally unique to great AOR.

All that said, at its core, Orphan is an out and out pop band, and yes, the arrangements and production are sometimes blown up into Boomtown Rats’ type pretentiousness (‘Woman In Love’ and ‘Uncle Sam Wants You’), but at other times (like on ‘Open Up The Skies’ and ‘Crazy For The Night’) they catch a wave of Honeymoon Suite’s jubilant pop sparkle.

Safe to say, the material on “Salute” certainly had its moments, but in failing to match the debut’s consistency, it fell short, critically and commercially.

Reviews by Brian McGowan


The latest Facebook Live session from Canadian singer-songwriter Josh Taerk was streamed on Sunday 20 December., imbued with a festive flavour to raise the spirits

More about Josh:

David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 20 December 2020 and announces the results of the Popular Poll for Best of 2020.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 20 December 2020 and includes Pete’s best of the year selections

Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.

Featured Albums w/c 11 January 2021 (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 UNRULY CHILD Our Glass House (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 SERGEANT STEEL Truck Tales (Boyz Tyme Records)
14:00-16:00 DAN REED Liftoff (Zero Entertainment)

Power Plays w/c 11 January 2021 (Mon-Fri)

BLACK SPIDERS – Good Times (Dark Riders Records/Cargo Records)
GRAVITY MACHINE Standing Stones (Zyse Records)
EMPIIRES Love Or Hate (TLG Entertainment/INgrooves)
RAY FENWICK Tam Tam (Singsong Music)
DEAD REYNOLDS Voices (The Fort)
LAYLA ZOE Don’t Wanna Help Anyone (indie)

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