4.5 out of 5 Stars!
Saraya is an obscure band that originally formed in New Jersey, and had received some minimum exposure on MTV (due to the video for “Love Has Taken Its Toll”) during the days when the station actually focused on music and played videos (what a concept, huh?).
Anyway, vocalist Sandy Saraya (ex-wife of Brian Wheat of Tesla fame) is one fantastic singer, and her self-named band had not only kick-ass tendencies, but a knack for delivering ultra-catchy choruses, which should have pushed the band into “hit single territory.”
Indeed, many of the songs on this high-quality, Jeff Glixman-produced debut, including the aforementioned “Love Has Taken Its Toll” along with “Gypsy Child,” “Back to the Bullet,” “St. Christopher’s Medal,” and “Healing Touch,” might have all been hits, had anyone at the record company (Polydor) actually given a damn.
But alas, worldwide fame eluded the talented group, even after Saraya released another equally impressive album (1991’s When the Blackbird Sings), which is unfortunate since I continue to enjoy both albums to this day.
For those unfamiliar with Saraya, imagine a female vocalist such as Lana Lane or Pat Benatar, Heart’s Ann Wilson or Toronto’s Holly Woods, fronting a group such as Montrose, Great White, or even Tesla, but with a fine blend of both guitars and keyboards, and that’s a fairly accurate description. In many respects, another forgotten band named Witness had much in common with Saraya, not only regarding its sound and female-led line-up, but also its way-too-early demise.
(Final note: Rumor has it that a third album is in the process of being produced, but whether the band’s original line-up has reunited after all these many years or if Sandy is working with a whole new set of musicians is anyone’s guess. I suppose I’ll just have to employ some patience and see what, if anything, occurs.)