Winnipeg's Harlequin were formed in 1976 and spent the better part of two years on the club circuit before being discovered by producer Jack Douglas at a particularly empty show in Toronto. This later led to a label deal with Epic Records and by 1979, "Victim of a Song" was in stores all over Canada. Three singles were spawned, bringing the album to gold status. The following year, the band released their sophomore album, "Love Crimes" which reached went platinum the following year. Subsequent tours with Triumph, Streetheart, Pat Benatar and Saga ensued, bringing them to a wider audience in their native country. Two more albums were issued over the next few years to even greater success, but popularity aside, the band were brought to a screeching halt in 1986 due to inner turmoil over their lack of a breakthrough in the US. Two decades would pass before Harlequin were active again, embarking on a Canadian reunion tour which led to albums released in 2004 and 2007.
This, their debut, is a solid collection of tracks that at times resemble April Wine at their most reserved. Devoid mostly of keyboards on this album, the band goes for a more organic sound than what was present on some of their later albums. The result is a less dynamic, but rootsier sound that stands apart from the remainder of their catalogue. Depending on your tastes, this can be a good or bad thing, as the band does eschew much of the stadium friendly writing they later became successful doing. As it stands, this album has languished in obscurity for decades and unjustly so. Take a listen and get a look at Harlequin at their most distilled.
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