4 out of 5 Stars!
Trillion was a promising band from my small corner of the globe, and actually included some guys from my high school—and nearby rival schools as well. And on the band’s debut album, Trillion also featured the fantastic lead vocals of Dennis “Fergie” Fredericksen (eventually a member of Toto, LeRoux, Mecca, and even Angel…RIP, Fergie).
Trillion (originally known as Whisper) got signed to a recording contract at the same time as what seems like zillions of other bands in Chicago got signed (when Chi-Town was the “happening” place for record companies to hunt for talent, prior to the days of grunge-band-crazed Seattle). Yet unfortunately, when this album came out in the late ’70s, it was somewhat of a disappointment for fans of the group, considering that, when in the clubs as Whisper, the band was way more Prog-Rock oriented and the album was not, featuring mostly shorter, more commercialized tracks and less experimentation when it came to song arrangements, which many Whisper fans had hoped would be included.
Nevertheless, the album blasts forth with two enjoyable songs, the excellent opener “Hold Out,” which leads into “Big Boy,” both tunes displaying grand vocal harmonies and some exceptional keyboard work, thanks to Patrick Leonard (a graduate of my high school, and future musician with Toy Matinee/3rd Matinee, future producer for Madonna, etc.). “Child Upon the Earth” is probably the most Progressive track, closer to the band’s early style when playing in the clubs as Whisper, but “May as Well Go,” “Bright Night Lights,” “Never Had it So Good,” and “Fancy Action” all have instrumentation comparable to any Prog-Rock group of the era, but crammed into condensed tracks with the AOR vocal melodies reigning supreme.
Therefore, despite the band’s name change and its honed musical style, this debut remains a favorite album of mine, probably due to my fleeting connection with members of Trillion, some of their family members and mutual friends, and because one of my former bands opened for Whisper on numerous occasions back in the Chicago-area clubs during those good ol’ days.