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Pallas - 2020 - “An Alternative Arrive Alive”

(121:01; Pallas)


Okay, so let’s put this into some sort of historical context. Pallas were formed back in 1976, and in 1981 they self-released a cassette album containing six songs called ‘Arrive Alive’. This release got them noticed by EMI, which led to ‘The Sentinel’. But what would ‘Arrive Alive’ have sounded like if they had used different recordings? Recently the band have been digitally releasing a series of albums aimed at the fans, and here they present us with different versions of the six songs plus four more (including some covers). As the band themselves say, “Compiled directly from the band's own private collection of live cassettes and never heard before, this selection from the early 80's takes us back to the gigs in Scotland where every weekend Pallas perfected their craft at venues such as the Dial Inn, Cuinzie Neuk, Bungalow Bar, Ochil Hills, Rothes Arms ABC Bowl etc.” This is not an album for anyone wondering who Pallas are, and feel they should finally get around to discovering one of the finest progressive bands ever to hail from Scotland, but instead is aimed at the die-hards like me who get all excited about discovering old tapes from bands now lost to time such as Appletwig Cutter, or early live recordings from bands who are still with us, such as Marillion, Twelfth Night and of course Pallas (oh how I wish I had been at the Hammy O when they all appeared) . The quality of some of the recordings are bootleg quality at best, audience recordings where it is possible to hear the chatter of the crowd and the glasses clinking, but for fans like me, who cares? We get a great version of “Echoes” for well over 20 minutes, as well as “The Ripper”, the song which nearly got them banned from The Marquee. Ten songs, only one of which is less than 7 minutes long, showing a band who at the time were trawling the circuit of pubs and clubs, playing anywhere and everywhere, and had already been plying their craft for a number of years. Although the recording quality is never what one would expect from an album, this is all about history and about capturing the band before they released two of the most important albums within the UK progressive scene, namely ‘The Sentinel’ and ‘The Wedge’. Euan Lowson is dramatic and passionate, a great singer and frontman, while drummer Derek Forman is driving along from the back. As for guitarist Graeme Murray, bassist Niall Matthewson and keyboard player Ronnie Brown, what is there left to say? They are still there today, continuing to push the band along and create great music in the way we all expect from Pallas. The guys have made this available on Bandcamp for just pounds 5, and for any fans of the band this is simply invaluable. So what if the recordings are ropey at times? For people like me this is simply invaluable, and all power to the band for making this available. I love it, and many more will feel exactly the same.

Progtector: July 2020

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