CD Reviews

Trillion - 'Trillion' Hot

Added by James Gaden     May 05, 2010    
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Boundry pushing effort from 1978 featuring future Toto singer Fergie Frederiksen.

Considering that ‘popular music’ (for want of a better term) has continually crossed and re-crossed the Atlantic as acts on both sides have fought to outdo each other, it’s always intriguing when you chance upon one little sub genre that seems to get stuck along the way. Whilst much of Britain was busy washing the rancid spittle of punk out of its hair before immersing itself into the oft equally fetid cesspit of noise affectionately christened the NWOBHM for example; across the water an altogether cleaner, more cultured revolution was taking shape ... AOR/pomp rock.
Spearheaded by bands like Boston, Kansas, Styx, Angel, Toto and Foreigner; a new wave of lyrically articulate, melody friendly acts were capturing the imagination of a generation pinning its hopes and dreams on the dawning of a new, far more prosperous decade. Yet, whilst all of the aforementioned acts made their lasting mark on the boundless pages of history, if you knew just where to look there was a second tier of equally impressive bands who despite having the talent, didn’t quite achieve the same levels of acclaim ... bands like Zon, Mayday, Starcastle, and Trillion.
Based out of Chicago, Trillion drew its first breath in the mid 70’s, born from a mutual love of all things progressive shared by keyboard player Pat Leonard and drummer Bill Wilkins. Upon hearing the Boston debut, Wilkins suggested they should put a band together to celebrate their shared influences ... it was 1976. Quickly snapped up by Epic, before long Trillion found themselves in the studio with Gary Lyons (Foreigner, Lone Star, etc.) laying down the delicately manicured tracks that would eventually make up their eponymous debut release in 1978.
Offering a finely balanced blend of Totoesque AOR underpinned with a sophisticated assortment of progressive/pomp themes (think Starcastle, Styx, Queen, etc.), of all the North American bands to emerge at that particular time, Trillion had the most noticeably European influenced sound. Fronted by the crisp, resonating vocals of Denis ‘Fergie’ Frederiksen, Trillion imbued their songs with striking melodies and sophisticated hooks, both heightened by a bombastic, unashamedly pomp fuelled dynamic.
Kicking off with the brash ‘Hold Out’, the album may have been substantially less than 40 minutes in duration, but I guarantee you once heard it was 40 minutes you’d never forget!. ‘Big Boy’ (the heaviest song in their set) is a wonderfully piquant fusion of Angel, Queen and Boston influences, and then there’s ‘May As Well Go’, the dance rock of ‘Fancy Action’ and the almost Pink Floyd like ‘Child Upon The Earth’ ... all great tracks which showcase a band not afraid to transcend boundaries as if they never existed.
For some reason, ‘Trillion’ singularly failed to connect with its intended target audience, and although a second album (‘Clear Approach’) with Thom Griffin on vocals was released a couple of years later, the band faded away into relative obscurity. Thankfully though, yet another great remastering job from the Rock Candy team has given this sadly overlooked little gem a chance to shine once more.
Dave Cockett
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