Oh what could have been! Gaillion released their debut album "Admit One" back in 1989 on an independent record label and weren't heard from again. Hopefully that will change soon. But until then, their debut album has been remixed, remastered and reissues 25 years later. The major achievement is that the music sounds just as good today as it must have at the time. Sure, a sonic facelift is always a good idea, so that helps but let's remember what 1989 sounded like!
The band definitely cite Rush as an influence. Bassist Todd Howard playing is definitely
reminiscent of Geddy Lee, and just the fact that he can even play that well is amazing! The other thing I love is that there are limited overdubs. Just drums, bass, guitar, keyboards and vocals. Each instrument has its place in the mix so it sounds like the band is playing live in front of you. The band do sound like a mixture of Rush with some IQ thrown in, mostly in vocals and melody. "Power Windows" is definitely a good point of reference for Gaillion's sound at the time, even "Hold Your Fire" as well. The band is never copying them but rather not ashamed to show their influences. Honestly, "Admit One" has aged better than "Power Windows" which, though a great album, does sound a little dated. The other advantage that Gaillion has is that guitarist James Vasquenza Jr. can find plenty of space for his tasty playing whist Alex Lifeson always seemed lost with the keyboards around him!
Ok enough about the comparison. How good are the songs on "Admit One"? Each song has plenty of melody and hooks while still being complex at the same time. One foot is firmly in the classic prog era of the seventies while they seemed to understand how the current prog era of the 90s would be. This was modern prog before there was modern prog. From the band's nimble playing on "Victory Parade" with Howard's thick bass pushing the song along to the anthemic "Impact Eighty" with Vasquenza's great guitar solo, there's something special with each song. I should also mention drummer Don Gunn who's playing is always spot on. Listen to "Stellar Dreams" for a perfect example!
Downside? At times the album has some sounds of the 80s. The
occasional keyboard patch or the use of an electronic drum pad here and there do show that this was indeed 1989. But it's never overused like many bands were doing at the time. If you want to discover an overlooked gem, check out "Admit One." Gaillion is primed for a return so we should see a follow up to this album hopefully soon!