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Brian Island - Brian Island (Reissue) Award winner

Brian Island
Brian Island
by Mike McMahan at 28 April 2021, 9:23 PM

In 1989, when Brian Island’s first solo album was released, it seemed as if record deals, in certain spots, were a dime a dozen. In Los Angeles alone, it seemed that if you had the right look, and could carry an instrument, you could get signed. The same couldn’t be said for everywhere else, as said album, and incredible musician in Island, went unnoticed and unsupported by the labels, and he instead opted for an independent release exclusive to Canada. He marketed the CD himself, along with then wife, Diane Kashton, through on-air contacts and major retail music stores, receiving good airplay and equally good sales…for a time. When one of the retail chains folded, the distribution suffered greatly. These days, the CD is very rare to find in its original pressing.

Island, himself, is a Sottish born bassist, songwriter and session man, who moved with his family to Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada at the age of seven. He picked up guitar at an early age, playing live folk shows by the time he was in his teens. Through several bands, including the impressive PROTOTYPE, he worked through the seventies and eighties. The songs on the solo release were primarily written for the possible follow up to PROTOTYPE’S 1983 debut, which, unfortunately, never panned out. With the help of producer and guitarist Dan Lowe, and some other friends, Brian was finally able to get the tracks recorded. Now, with this reissue, we have another opportunity to experience this very worthy release (complete with the inclusion of one bonus track). Again, it isn’t a large opportunity, as copies are limited to 500 World- Wide; but it is indeed an opportunity.

The first thing I noticed on the album is just how good it really sounds. The release benefitted from a stereo recording enhancement technique, apparently invented by Dan Lowe, called “Q Sound”. The songs are very crisp; and are mixed impeccably. From the opening notes of the first track, “In Spite Of What You Do”, you can hear exactly what I am speaking of. The song is a Pop jewel, with a fantastic, jumping bass line, great synth work and songwriting all working in its favor. Island also possesses a good voice, and he presents the song with a reckless abandon.

The pattern continues throughout, with several well written and well performed tracks on the record. I am, unfortunately, uncertain of a full musician lineup, but I do know Dan LoweBrad Steckel and Ted Alexander were huge contributors across the board. One thing is for certain, they all combined to record one hell of an under-appreciated album, and one that deserves to be heard. Get it while you can.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. In Spite Of What You Do
2. Treat Me Like A Lover
3. No Surrender
4. Walk On Water
5. I’m Your Hero
6. Night After Night
7. Major Motion
8. When You Lose Your Love
9. Draw The Line
10. One Wish Deliverance (Bonus Track)
Brian Island – Bass Guitar and Vocals
Record Label: AOR Heaven


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Edited 04 June 2023

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