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Fotomaker's "Vis-a-Vis," ranked and rated

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Not to take a shot at Wally, and not to stir the pot, but, it could be as simple as what Eric once said- that Wally has been kicked out of every band he was ever in.

I'm not saying I subscribe to that, to be clear...

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Their third album doesn't even sound like the same group. Though not awful, none of the dance beat driven tracks on it entice me to ever pull the album out for a listen. AllMusic's review of their third album which I couldn't disagree with more.


By the time of Fotomaker's third album, 1979's Transfer Station, ex-Raspberry and founding member Wally Bryson was gone. So was any vestige of their original Raspberries-lite power pop sound. In its place was a super-slick pop/rock sound that touched on disco ("Gotta Feel Your Love," "Love Me Forever"), soft funk ("Lightning," "A Woman Like You"), and soft pop balladry ("Nowhere to Turn," "Don't Let Go"). It was hard to believe that it had been only two years since they released their guitar pop classic "Where Have You Been All My Life." It was also hard to believe that this record actually worked, certainly better than their resounding flop of the previous year, Vis-à-Vis. Of course, power pop fans should avoid Transfer Station like expired milk, but anyone who lives on the outskirts of good taste might find the album to be a bit of a gem. The group really nails its soft and shiny blend of soft rock (vocal harmonies, sappy choruses, and sweet melodies) and disco (bubbling tempos, bouncy basslines, and robotic drumming). Sure, most of it is pretty disposable, and you can imagine most of the songs being played in the background of an episode of The Greatest American Hero without straining too much, but what exactly is wrong with that? It did absolutely nothing on the charts at the time and the band died soon after, but don't let that put you off. Transfer Station isn't the kind of record that you are going to pull out at parties to impress your hipster friends, unless their idea of hip is Leo Sayer and Tom Johnston. If that is the case, then go for it!

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On 3/23/2021 at 1:33 AM, LC said:

James, here's a 1978 Atlantic Records promo video with some live footage. You'll love seeing Wally with his double-neck guitar, trading solos with Lex Marchesi, on either side of bassist Gene Cornish. 


Thank you thank you. THANK YOU

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