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Trevor Rabin

Crossover Prog

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Trevor Rabin Can't Look Away album cover
3.21 | 29 ratings | 5 reviews | 7% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1989

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. I Can't Look Away (7:22)
2. Something To Hold On To (5:07)
3. Sorrow (Your Heart) (4:29)
4. Cover Up (5:17)
5. Promises (5:57)
6. Etoile Noir (1:03)
7. Eyes Of Love (6:24)
8. I Didn't Think It Would Last (4:08)
9. Hold On To Me (4:44)
10. Sludge (2:26)
11. I Miss You Now (5:38)
12. The Cape (2:56)

Total time: 55:31

Line-up / Musicians

- Trevor Rabin / vocals, guitar, guitar synth, bass, keyboards, composer, co-producer

- Duncan Faure / backing vocals (2, 3, 5, 7-9)
- Tsidii Le Loka / backing vocals (3-5, 7)
- Beulah Hashe / backing vocals (3-5, 7)
- Faith Kekana / backing vocals (3-5, 7)
- Marilyn Nokwe / backing vocals (3-5, 7)
- Bob Ezrin / backing vocals (3, 7), co-producer
- Alan White / drums (4, 11)
- Lou Molino III / drums (1-3, 8, 10)
- Denny Fongheiser / drums (7)

Releases information

LP Elektra ‎- EKC 6177 (1989, South Africa)

CD Elektra ‎- 9 60781-2 (1989, US)
CD Voiceprint ‎- VP366CD (2011, UK)

Thanks to SouthSideoftheSky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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TREVOR RABIN Can't Look Away ratings distribution

(29 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(7%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(41%)
Good, but non-essential (45%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

TREVOR RABIN Can't Look Away reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
4 stars Hold On!

Can't Look Away was Trevor Rabin's first solo album since he had joined Yes (but not his first solo album overall). At this point in his career he had already played on the Yes albums 90125 (released in 1983) and Big Generator (1987), but his days with Yes were not over and he would later go on to contribute to Union (1991) and Talk (1994). In addition to Rabin himself on guitars and lead vocals (among several other things), Can't Look Away also features another Yes member in Alan White on drums (on some tracks). The album will appeal to anyone who enjoys the Yes albums that Rabin played on, and in my opinion this album is actually better than both 90125 and Big Generator!

Rabin is not only an excellent guitarist, but also a strong vocalist and a good song writer. All of these qualities are amply represented here where he does not need to take the back seat behind anyone else. In my opinion, Rabin's very best compositions can be found on Yes' Union album in Lift Me Up and Miracle Of Life. But apart from those two excellent Yes songs, some of Rabin's finest songs are on the present album. The album opens with the title track which features an excellent riff very much in the style of Lift Me Up and showcases Rabin's powerful guitar styles. He is an incredible player!

Some songs here, most notably Sorrow (Your Heart), pay homage to Rabin's African origins by fusing Rock and traditional African sounds. I have never heard anything quite like it. There are many other styles of music as well subtly fused into an overall progressive Arena Rock foundation. The Cape, Sludge, and Etoile Noir are instrumentals that contribute to the variety of the album keeping it interesting throughout.

I think it is a real shame that Rabin didn't continue his solo career (after he left Yes the second time around) with more albums in the style of this one. I still hope that one day (preferably very soon!) he would form a strong band around himself and tour the world performing songs from this album as well as songs from his time in Yes. With the best songs from Talk, Union, Big Generator, 90125, and the present album, he could really put together a great set list.

Can't Look Away remains Rabin's greatest achievement as a solo artist, and a great album it is

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars For what it's worth, this album holds a special place to me, since I had a wonderful time at the release party held in Boston. I was at the party, and Trevor Rabin noticed that I was the only one there actually listening to the album. So, over continuous glasses of champagne, we had a nice discussion about the album, Yes, and prog rock in general.

I honestly didn't think much of the album at the time, as I was listening to bands like Doctor Nerve and Univers Zero mostly in those days, and didn't have much appreciation for this pop-ish style of music. But since Rabin's addition to the archives, I've taken a fresh look at the disk.

If you like the 80's Yes, then you may just enjoy this album. It definitely displays Rabin's influence, and points to him as the leader of Yes during that period. The song styling is similar in many ways, and quite often sounds like tracks that could have been on "Big Generator". It has a similar, clear production, with Rabin's rich harmonization of guitars, keyboards and vocals.

Much of it also sounds like classic Foreigner, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Rabin's undoing comes in his sometimes too schmaltzy lyrics, hitting the depths on "Hold On To Me". But those points don't totally overwhelm the fact that Rabin is a truly gifted guitarist. His solos throughout lift even the sappy love songs to a listenable level.

The album revs up a bit at the end. "Sludge" is the best, and most progressive and aggressive track. It's an instrumental that becomes an almost metal fusion piece. "I Miss You Now" displays some nice bass work from Rabin, and "The Cape" provides a nice ending over an almost new-age backing track.

Does this album justify Rabin's inclusion here? Not quite, but "Jacaranda" certainly does. But as a slightly prog, but mostly rock album, it's pretty good.

Review by Guillermo
3 stars Without doubt, TREVOR RABIN is a very talented musician. He not only is a very good guitarist, but also he is a good keyboard player, lead singer , composer and producer. All these things appear in all the albums that he recorded as a member of YES between 1983 and 1994. Many fans of the band did not like very much his influence in the band`s music because it changed from being Prog Rock to a new style of music which also included some Pop Rock music influences and Hit Singles which were played a lot in the Radio. Despite all these influences, I still think that he was talented enough to be a member of that band. In the albums that he recorded with the band there are some good quality songs and some very good lead guitar playing by him.

This album, his fourth as soloist, was released almost at the same time as the "Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, Howe" album, an album which Jon Anderson recorded with those other then former members of the band, being tired of the music direction that YES was having then. YES lost Anderson since late 1988, so the band was on hiatus, without a lead singer. So, Rabin took the opportunity to record this new solo album titled "I Can`t Look Away", maybe looking for a new chance as a soloist in 1989.

This is a good album, with songs mostly composed and arranged in the Pop Rock music trends of the late eighties, with some of them still having some Progressive rock influences. Unfortunately, the album is not very consistent as a whole and some songs really are not very interesting.

Among the best songs in this album, they are "I Can`t Look Away", "Something to Hold On To" (which became a Hit Single and maybe it is th best song from this album), "Sorrow (your heart)" (very influenced by Souht African music), "Cover Up", and "Promises" Coincidentaly, all these songs are the first five songs in the album, and with "Sludge", all are the strongest from the album. With the exception of "Promises", all these songs were also included in his live album titled "Live in L.A." which was released until 2003. That album has all these songs played better in concert.

Unfortunately, the rest of the songs are not as good, being mostly very Pop Rock ballads (like "I Didn`t Think It Would Last", "Hold On to Me", and "I Miss You Now"), plus a "power ballad" which sounds like being very influenced by FOREIGNER ("Eyes of Love") with a guitar riff very influenced by that band`s guitarist (Mick Jones). "Etoile Noir" and "The Cape" are instrumental pieces of music, not very interesting for my taste.

So, Rabin left at the first half of the album the best songs, with the rest of the songs (with the exception of the heavy instrumental titled "Sludge") not being as interesting. The album only reached the number 111 in the "Billboard 200" chart in the U.S., so it was not very successful in commercial terms, even with the very eighties production. But "Something to Hold On To" became a Hit Single, reaching the number three in the U.S. Billboard charts, and having a video which was played on TV.

The recording and mixing of the album is very good. Rabin recorded very good lead and backing vocals, and his guitar playing is very good, having some very good guitar solos in some songs. So, this is a good quality album which could have been more interesting for some of Rabin`s fans and some fans of the Pop Rock market.

YES`s drummer Alan White appears in two songs, but in this album his drums playing style is not very easy to be identified, having to compete with some programmed drum machines.

This album was the last released Rabin`s solo album until 2012, when he released his album titled "Jacaranda", after recording a lot of soundtrack albums for films since leaving YES in mid 1995.

Review by patrickq
3 stars I guess I understand, but I still don't understand. Why did albums in the late 1980s and early 1990s have to be fifty or sixty minutes long? The ubiquity of the CD format was definitely a big part of the answer, although the growth started several years before CDs overtook cassettes as the industry standard in 1991. Yes's Drama (1980) was 37 minutes long, while 90125 (1983) and Big Generator (1987) were each about 45. Then Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe* (1989) was 59 minutes and Union (1991) clocked in at over 65 - - and both were marketed as single albums.

At 55 minutes, Yes guitarist Trevor Rabin's Can't Look Away was part of the trend: at the same time older people were bemoaning the shortening of the youth attention span, albums had gotten a good 15 minutes longer during the 1980s. And as Rabin's fourth studio LP demonstrates, more isn't necessarily better. Side One of the original vinyl is serviceable AOR - - with the exception of the wonderful "Sorrow (Your Heart)," which somehow didn't click with radio programmers despite at least some promotion by Elektra. I'm not sure why it didn't receive an official single release in the US; not only is it very catchy, it seems like it would have been timely insofar as it related to South African Apartheid.

Anyway, after the first three songs - - the Apartheid-related "I Can't Look Away," the lead single "Something to Hold on To," and "Sorrow," the quality wanes, and by the end of the first side, Rabin's run out of hooks. Three of the Side Two songs are interesting instrumentals - - they don't simply sound like arena-rockers without the singing. But the other four tunes are schlocky AOR, at least compared to the tunes on the obverse. That's despite the fact that Rabin, who wrote seven of the songs himself, involved co-composers on the other six. Bob Ezrin, who had produced Peter Gabriel's debut as well as the career best-selling albums of Alice Cooper, Kiss, and Pink Floyd, co-wrote three songs, and former Slapp Happy member Anthony Moore contributes lyrics to two. Rabin's father Geoffrey and former Rabbit producer Patric van Blerk are also credited on one track each.

Rabin was a relatively young singer/multi-instrumentalist and a decent singer when he joined Yes in 1983, and many fans viewed him as an interloper who pushed the band away from prog-rock and toward pop-rock. In 1997, newcomer Billy Sherwood was perceived in much the same way. The comparison is superficial at best, but Rabin and Sherwood have a significant similarity as solo artists. Neither needs much help in the studio, as each is sufficiently talented as a songwriter, singer, producer, and instrumentalist. Each has contributed significantly to the Yes discography (most notably, to 90125, Big Generator, and Talk in Rabin's case, and Keys to Ascension 2** and Open Your Eyes in Sherwood's). But neither has produced a solo album that holds my interest from start to finish. In Sherwood's case, it may be a certain sterility and monotony in his sound, and in Rabin's, it's his AOR fare.

In terms of Can't Look Away, I do give Rabin specific credit for not turning in an Eric Johnson or Joe Satriani album. First of all, those guys, and a few others, were already there and were busy doing that in 1989. Second, Rabin is capable of writing and singing accessible pop-rock songs, so why not?

Can't Look Away is a three-star album, though among three-star albums it's below average. Nonetheless, there are some good AOR tunes here, a few interestingly odd instrumentals - - and "Sorrow (Your Heart)," which stands as one of the most enjoyable Rabin songs I've ever heard.


*certainly not a Yes album, but like Can't Look Away, it fits the pattern.

**primarily, but importantly, as a producer.

Latest members reviews

2 stars I wish I would have looked away when I purchased this CD shortly after it's release. Blushingly, I admit of giving it numerous spins before it was unceremoniously disregarded as of any interest to me. Currently this album is rated as a clean 4 and if I didn't know better, on that basis I'd be ... (read more)

Report this review (#1162726) | Posted by Anon-E-Mouse | Friday, April 18, 2014 | Review Permanlink

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