Monday, August 26, 2013

Translator - No Time Like Now

Following their debut album Heartbeats and Triggers from 1982 (click here for that review), Translator returned to the studio for their sophomore effort. The result was 1983’s No Time Like Now which is celebrating its thirtieth anniversary this month.

Side one begins with “Un-Alone”, a song that looks at the human nature of wanting to be with another person.

“Beyond Today” shows the influence of the 60’s British pop with a sound reminiscent of the Byrds.

Things slow down a bit with “I Hear You Follow”. Bob Darlington takes over the lead vocals from Steve Barton on this one and delivers a very reserved yet deeply enduring performance.

“Break Down Barriers” was released as an extended play single. The song features the funky bass groove of Larry Dekker and a smooth saxophone accompaniment from Steve Berlin. I can easily see how this one would be popular in dance clubs back in 1983; it feels right at home with early Spandau Ballet or Heaven 17 - both bands I love.

“L.A., L.A.” is a snappy ode to Los Angeles where the band had relocated to.

The ballad “I Love You” opens up the heart and bares its very core. For me, it is Dave Scheff’s drums that really give this one a vibrant pulse.

Side two starts with the title track “No Time Like Now”.

Darlington returns to the microphone for “Everything Is Falling”, a song about the world around a guy coming tumbling down. He turns to the one he loves to catch him.

“Simple Things” has a more ominous feel as if things are closing in from all around as even the simple things we take for granted become complicated. I like how the last thirty seconds or so is just an instrumental fade out.

The methodical “The End of Their Love” shows great sadness for a couple who can no longer make things work. The guitars of Barton and Darlington really wring out the heartache.

“About the Truth” goes from ethereal to manic in its rhythms as a man takes a hard look at himself in the mirror and comes to grips with whom he has become.

The album closes on a more up-tempo beat with “Circumstances Laughing”.

If you read my review of Heartbeats and Triggers you know I became a fan of the band after a single listen of that album. Based on that experience, I picked up No Time Like Now prior to hearing all of the tracks and that turned out to be a great move as well. Once more, I was treated a collection of solid power-pop songs by a tight quartet of musicians. I really like the fact that I can still discover new music from a decade I love.

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