PLAYER – Spies Of Life [Korean LP replica remastered] Out Of Print
Founded by Peter Beckett and bassist Ronn Moss, PLAYER are known to be one of the essential AOR West Coast bands along with Toto, Ambrosia or Pages. While their debut was pure West Coast FM, their 2nd ‘Danger Zone’ elevated the band into powerful AOR territory, followed by ‘Room With A View’ (which seemed a combination of both).
Despite the departure of Moss (he would later find fame as actor in the soap Bold & The Beautiful), Beckett continued with a revised line-up and Player recorded what many consider their finest record; “Spies Of Life“.
This Korean LP replica remastered reissue appeared some time ago sound million bucks. Unfortunately, it’s out of print now.
In fact, for me, “Spies Of Life” is like a Peter Beckett’s solo album, as the man dominates completely the recording with his incredible soaring vocals and pure AOR arrangements / songwriting.
“If Looks Could Kill” sets up a metronomic tempo and Player then weave some special hooks and melodies around it for a hypnotic Toto-like experience, especially at chorus time. A trio of smooth numbers follow, starting with “Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid” is a wonderful midtempo while the midsong bridge adds some welcome power.
“Thank You For The Use Of Your Love” slows things down to a crawl and the requisite classic West Coast AOR flavor is poured on generously, while “It Only Hurts When I Breathe” expose Player’s vaunted harmonising to good effect.
“My Mind’s Made Up” changes gears back into rock territory. A great choppy riff carries the verses into a catchy chorus which closes out greatly in a melodic rock vein. Great song.
“I’d Rather Be Gone” is hypnotic and unhurried with the chorus carried by Beckett alone is real class, even adding some powerful guitar into the mix.
“Take Me Back” invades barnstorming AOR territory with some serious riffage and vocal power, something like Toto in a blender with Triumph. Great stuff and one of my favorites from the album.
“My Survival” is a genuine power ballad in the Journey / 707 tradition with brilliant instrumentation and a superb climax. All out commercial poppy AOR is delivered in the form of “Born To Be With You”, a wonderful ’80s melodious tune full of magic.
The album ends with a ditty type of song called “In Like Flynn”, poking at Errol Flynn, an old movie star many might not remember. Great lyrics and catchy rhythm.
“Spies Of Life” is a classic AOR album in my book, the best Player, and one of the best Beckett’s works ever. It has all the unrepeatable elements that made ’80s AOR unique and magic.
This Korean reissue features – along with a superb remastered sound from the original tapes – a fantastic LP replica of the original artwork / format.
Essential in your AOR collection.
01 – If Looks Could Kill
02 – Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid
03 – Thank You for the Use of Your Love
04 – It Only Hurts When I Breathe
05 – My Mind’s Made Up
06 – I’d Rather Be Gone
07 – Take Me Back
08 – My Survival
09 – Born to Be With You
10 – In Like Flynn
Peter Beckett – lead vocals, guitars
Miles Joseph – guitars, vocals
Rusty Buchanan – bass, vocals
John Friesen – drums
Out Of Print – Try Here: