UK band QUASAR was formed back in 1979, and is a band that suffered from a multitude of line-up alterations in their early history. The one constant member is bassist Keith Turner, the only remaining member from the foundation of the band to the constellation that released their debut album “Fire in the Sky” in 1982, and he was also the sole member of that line-up still in the band when their second production “The Loreli” appeared in 1989.
Seven years and a brand new line-up had done a lot for Quasar as a band. As had better recording quality and production I surmise. Like their debut album this is a production that will be regarded as a neo progressive one. Accessible, melodic symphonic progressive rock, albeit with more of a sophisticated nature to it than the material on their debut album.
A central premise in the band’s sound on this occasion is the manner in which the bass guitar is rather central in the arrangements. On one hand the bass is in tight interplay with the drums to construct a firm drive and rhythm foundation, but on the other hand it serves as the main contrasting element in the compositions. The guitar may chime in with the occasional darker toned texture, but is first and foremost used as a resonating light toned supplemental motif provider when not providing guitar soloing harmonizing with or supplementing the keyboards. The keyboards mainly use the lighter tones of the register to provide layers of surging and playful symphonic textures and backdrops to the proceedings. The bass guitar is the one constant provider of darker toned motifs to contrast the otherwise lighter toned instrument details, and due to that gets a more distinct placement in the arrangements. Which may also be the reason for why Turner’s bass and pedals are also utilized in a more melodic sense than ordinary.
The compositions are accessible and melodic creations all, alternating between gentler movements and sections sporting either a more intense and majestic expression or the occasional lapse into sections of pace-filled and more intense excursions. The latter occasionally containing minor references to bands like ELP. What adds a lot more life and intensity to this album are the lead vocals. Tracy Hitchings is the singer on this disc, and her expressive, emotional voice is of the kind that comes with drama and tension as a natural element. While the instrumental constructions might be a bit too smooth for some, the raw emotion of Hitchings lead vocals adds nerve and tension aplenty to keep matters interesting. All of these elements arguably finding their perfect form on final track Power In Your Hands.
While both production and most instrument textures comes with a distinct 80’s sound to them, and due to that will have a limited appeal, “The Lorelei” is a fine example of neo progressive rock from the 1980’s, and if you enjoy that kind of music in general and are fond of the melodic, accessible variety of it in particular this album merits a check. Especially for those who have a soft spot for emotional, dramatic female lead vocals.
My rating: 80/100