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I-TEN – Taking A Cold Look [1983]

In 1983 songwriters Billy Steinberg (guitar and vocals) and Tom Kelly (guitar, keyboards and vocals) formed the short lived AOR band I-Ten. The album was recorded in between the two Toto albums “IV” and “Isolation”, and includes most of the Toto band members, plus almost all the best studio performers of L.A. at the time.  It features top session musicians, most notably Steve Lukather (Toto, Tim Feehan, Fee Waybill, John Wetton, Eric Martin, Radioactive, etc.) on guitars and Alan Pasqua (Van Stephenson, Giant, Eddie Money, Gregg Rolie, Sammy Hagar, Starship, etc.) on keyboards. 

This release was produced and arranged by Keith Olsen (Fleetwood Mac, Foreigner, etc.) and Toto guitarist Steve Lukather with help from a fantastic group of musicians including David Paich (Toto, Radioactive, Far Corporation, Tommy Denander, etc.), Steve Porcaro (Toto, Harlan Cage, Radioactive, Dakota, etc.), Lenny Castro (Toto, Eric Martin, Steve Lukather, etc.), and many more that will be noticed in the end. The tracks display a healthy appetite for the kind of super glossy hi-tech sound employed by Toto, Journey and Steely Dan, high grace AOR of the finest variety.

The arrangements are rich and all the songs are winners, with ultra melodic hooks galore, starting with the title track “Taking A Cold Look”, a brilliant up-tempo gem strong on refrains feautures a cracking guitar based chorus that just sits in your head. The song also coverd from the Canadian hard rockers Honeymoon Suite. “Quicksand” is one of the album’s highlight, recalls in its main melody but quickly mutates to a supertramp AOR, creating a school with another great chorus and a guitar lesson from a stranger rocker Steve Lukather. It starts off quiet and laid back before guitars and keyboard interplay hit centre stage with brilliant vocals. “Alone” is an awesome and emotional ballad that became a hit for Heart later. When Heart released “Alone” as a hit single back in the 80’s, I never knew it was a cover of an I-Ten song, and listening the original, I’m wondering why it wasn’t a monster for them…. “Workin For A Lovin'” is another slice of quirky pop rock that positively bounces along, a song close to what was doing Rick Springfield at the time. A song as “Lonely In Each Other’s Arms” is simply stunning, so sensitive. A sparse affair, topped off by a pumping synth bass, but is a keyboard workout set to your standard ballad. Simply one of most spectacular AOR songs of all time. And then again, it continues with the moving pace of “I Don’t Want To Lose You”, a great and personal favorite song with straightforward guitars, catchy chorus and a rhythm that will blown you away. A masterpiece that also covered by REO Speedwagon.

The dynamic explosion of rhythms continues on “Time To Say Goodbye”, another issue with a star in the musical where the voices are treated similarly to the “Need Your Love” by Cheap Trick. A breathtaking melody with great keys and bass work by Dennis Belfield and a brilliant refrain that will take you a trip back in time, when the airwaves played real music. “The Easy Way Out” is a rapid pace of a fabulous westcoast/AOR to appear while the impressive melodies punctuated by sweeping refrains in “I’ve Been Crying” and foaming of the hard in “Pressing My Luck”, a stirling mid paced rocker with great harmony vocals and a strong chorus, that close the disk perfectly.

If you like the mid 80’s AOR/Westocoast sound, this album is a MUST. A record that came and went in the blink of an eye but containing some of the most impressive songs and musical arragements of all time.

Band Members
Tom Kelly – Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
Billy Steinberg – Guitar, Vocals
Mike Baird – Drums, Percussion
Dennis Bellfield – Bass
Lenny Castro – Percussion
Steve Lukather – Guitar, Keyboards, Synthesizer
Richard Page – Backing Vocals
David Paich – Keyboards, Synthesizer
Alam Pasqua – Keyboards, Synthesizer
Steve Porcaro – Synthesizer
Peggy Sandvig – Synthesizer
Chas Sanford – Rhythm Guitar

01. Taking A Cold Look (3:54)
02. Quicksand (3:58)
03. Alone (3:58)
04. Workin’ For A Lovin’ (3:18)
05. Lonely In Each Other’s Arms (4:57)
06. I Don’t Want To Lose You (3:16)
07. Time To Say Goodbye (4:02)
08. The Easy Way Out (3:30)
09. I’ve Been Crying (3:45)
10. Pressing My Luck (3:43)

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Rating: 9.4/10 (5 votes cast)
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Rating: +3 (from 3 votes)
I-TEN - Taking A Cold Look [1983], 9.4 out of 10 based on 5 ratings
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