I was a huge fan of Zebra when I was in junior high. I remember hearing “Who’s Behind the Door?” on WAAF — and seeing the video on MTV — and being totally blown away by the music. I loved the sound of synthesizers back then, especially if they used the strings setting. [I’d later get into Giuffria a year or so later for the same reason.] I even got to see them live, when they opened up for Loverboy at the Worcester Centrum — my very first big arena concert.
I bought the cassette of the self-titled debut album right about the same time, and I nearly wore it out within a year.
Decades later, and I’m listening to it on mp3, and it suddenly dawns on me — this album sounds almost exactly like a Porcupine Tree album.
Think about it: both lead singers are guitar virtuosos who write beautiful and complex melodies. Sure, one sings in falsetto half the time, but never mind. Plus the keyboards play a strong and vital part in the music, giving it a darker ambience. There are a few shorter pop songs here and there, but there are also some lengthy prog-jam pieces in there as well. It’s no wonder that I became such a huge PT fan in the late 90s.
I still pull out this album every now and again and give it a listen. I’ll listen to album two, No Tellin’ Lies, every now and again as well, but this first album will always be a particular favorite of mine.