Rantz - s/t. 1982 USA

Now this is one doggone weird album, I'll tell you that. The early 80s were a lost time for America. These were my high school years, and I remember them like yesterday. Culturally we bordered on anarchy. Which is of course the breeding ground for true creativity. Unlike Europe, we never had a true "progressive scene". We had fans of English progressive rock, but indigenous bands pretty much wallowed in obscurity. I've already documented this to death in my USA Midwest / Ontario Progressive Rock (1970's/early 80s) list. Myself, I was banging my head against every wall (explains things doesn't it?) while listening to heavy metal. Then moving to 70's progressive and sequencer based electronic music. And eventually relating way too much to Nicolas Cage in Valley Girl with his Tangerine Dream T-shirt and being a social outcast to those "preppies" with their Top Siders and pulled-up-collar "Alligator shirts" (Izod for the culturally unaware) and weren't allowed to date the cute cheerleaders, only because we listened to Iron Maiden and knew how to program Assembly code on an IBM - even if said cute girls actually liked you. Today you're cool if you're a geek. Back then we were just geeks (actually we were called "Freaks" - that was the early 80s term used for us long hairs who went to heavy metal and hard rock concerts, played in the high school band, and actually learned how to program a computer - oh, and liked girls, something I've come to learn was less common than initially thought. I guess I'm "old fashioned" that way. Explains my runway model wife of 20 years at least). And, naturally enough, us Freaks listened to "weird music".

Which gets me back to Rantz (whew... wasn't quite sure how I was going to do that). I don't even know where to start here. The cover is indicative, perhaps. The female vocalist sounds like a mutant Dale Bozzio of Missing Persons. The guitarist plays in a decidedly psychedelic manner as if 1973 never happened. Did I mention flute? Oh yes, it's everywhere here - all played 1970 style (and the sisterhood is alive here too). The compositions? Clearly informed by the MTV acts of the day: Men Without Hats, Talking Heads, Blondie, The Pretenders, The Human League... oh you get the idea. (I'm so old, I remember when MTV only played music videos). Gotta love a tune called 'Gnostic Blues'. You know, I've been thinking of getting a bunch of international guys together to rate progressive albums... and call it Gnosis! Naw, that would be dumb. Anyway, real time warp stuff here for this high school junior in 1982. About the only album this screwed up is the Amish Rumspringa band Quasar Light. Seriously, if Ancient Aliens had a show on progressive rock, Rantz would be their proof. Not sure they'd be off base either. If only they were from Roswell, New Mexico. "Could it be, as Ancient Astronaut Theorists believe..."

Personal Collection
LP: 1982 Casino

This was another CDRWL discovery, and most of the review above came from that CD-R listen. I have since obtained the LP. If looking to do similar, I highly suggest a visit over to Discogs so you can obtain your own sealed copy for a decent price. Get them before they go! Not reissued on CD as I write this.

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