Prior to his successful if sometimes controversial stint with legendary progressive rock band Yes, singer-songwriter and guitarist Trevor Rabin had built a healthy career as a mainstream rocker. As both a member of the zoologically named band Rabbitt and as a solo artist, Rabin showed enough promise to earn shots at slots in Foreigner and Asia. Ultimately, of course, he ended up replacing Steve Howe in the '80s incarnation of Yes, helping to transform that ultra-challenging prog group into the commercially viable arena rock outfit it soon became. Some longtime Yes fans weren't happy with that change in direction, but there's no denying the melodic rock acumen of Rabin as both a player and singer.
1981's Wolf must have been part of the reason Rabin attracted such attention from AOR circles, as it's a fine collection of technically sound if not immediately distinctive guitar rock. The LP's lead-off track, the endearingly well-rounded "Open Ended," benefits from a compelling power rock approach but perhaps showcases above all the effectiveness of Rabin as a versatile lead singer. I wonder how much it could have influenced the gravity of Rabin's lead vocal contributions to "Changes," the standout Yes offering from 1983's million-selling 90125, which helped define all that was positive about that classic rock band's new direction. Cheesy album cover aside, Rabin's solo efforts on Wolf represent the power and persistent relevance of keyboard-laden arena rock even at the peak of stylish '80s new wave.
- Sample or download "Open Ended" here.
- Compare prices on Trevor Rabin CDs here.
- Top 10 Albums of 1984
Album Cover Image Courtesy of Voiceprint