Remember back in the late 70’s when there was all of a sudden another hot Canadian band besides Rush producing quality hard rock? Yes, that was Triumph, and their 1979 release Just a Game brought the band a bit of recognition here in the US thanks to wonderful FM anthems like Lay It On the Line and Hold On, both catchy hard rock numbers that hinted at a band with excellent songwriting and musical skills. Now that the Triumph catalog is being remastered, everyone can hear these albums with superior sound, and booklets that recreate the original LP’s artwork and design.
As on the actual record that was released back in 1979, you get some neat live shots of the band, and the game board design, plus the lyrics to each of the songs. The songs you ask, well, there’s plenty of muscular and melodic rockers, like the bluesy “Young Enough to Cry”, which features drummer Gil Moore’s husky vocals and searing lead guitar work from Rik Emmett. There’s rockin’ boogie numbers such as “Movin’ On”, raunchy riff-rockers like “American Girls”, and the progressive tinged title track “Just a Game”. Having two lead vocalists in Moore and Emmett added nice variety to Triumph’s music, as both had very different styles and delivery; Emmett being very high pitched and melodic, and Moore in the lower register, better suited to the heavy rock numbers.
In what became standard on all of the Triumph albums, Emmett includes a short guitar instrumental, this one called “Fantasy Serenade”, and a very nice piece at that. One of the world’s most underrated guitar players, Emmett’s work is amazing throughout this album, and the remaster process has done wonders for the guitar sound here, as it has for Mike Levine’s thunderous and sinewy bass playing.
If you are a long-time Triumph fan, there’s every reason in the world to pick up the remastered series, and this is as good a place to start as any. Those new to the band now have the perfect opportunity to check these guys out.
1) Movin’ On (4:05)
2) Lay It On the Line (4:00)
3) Young Enough to Cry (6:00)
4) American Girls (5:01)
5) Just a Game (6:10)
6) Fantasy Serenade (1:40)
7) Hold On (6:00)
8) Suitcase Blues (3:02)