Saturday, November 8, 2014

Everfriend - 1980 - Tropicsphere


01. That's What She Said!
02. Tropicsphere
03. Where You Are
04. Fanfare For The Uncommon Band
05. Do It Fluid
06. Words Won't Hide Your Eyes
07. Snake With The Firehat
08. Pianoisms

The American progressive rock band Everfriend were the project of keyboardist Bill Rhodes (real last name Rupprecht), who was active in the 1970s-80s. The music generated was an eclectic mixture of styles, from space rock to classically influenced keyboard works. The Mellotron dominated the sound as well as a blend of symphonic prog with synth-fronted jazz-fusion. The band consisted of three artists: Bill Rhodes on keyboards, Mike Jacoby on drums, and Paul Kozub on bass. They produced some underground very obscure albums including "Tropicsphere" in 1980, "Sphere of Influence" in 1981, and "Snake With a Hat". Bill Rhodes and Mike Jacoby used to play together in the All Night Flyers band and worked on the Everfriend project which was their focus while they lived in the Metuchen New Jersey area. They picked up bassist Paul Kozub for the albums who also played in the All Night Flyers. The band underwent personnel changes over its short career spanning 1978-1981, and the album "Sphere of Influence" is hailed as a prog classic, albeit one of the most obscure acts in the United States.

Extremely obscure US group from the New Jersey area, active from late-70's to early-80's.Everfriend were led by keyboardist Bill Rhodes and drummer Mike Jacoby, both them previously played together in a band called All Night Flyers.Their debut album ''Tropicsphere'' was released in 1980 on the unknown Jazzical label.

A quite uneven album, ''Tropicsphere'' opens with a few cuts, where keyboard-driven Prog/Fusion meets commercial Horn Rock.Rhodes' work on electric piano and synthesizers comes in evidence with some really furious solos, the tracks have some complex themes and sudden changes, the sporadic female vocals are cool, but the slight air of mainstream vibes is evident throughout them.There is a notable STARDRIVE influence in most of these pieces.Side A suprisingly closes with a very symphonic-oriented piece, similar to HAPPY THE MAN, French HECENIA or even E.L.P. with a very technical keyboard delivery and fantastic bombastic breaks, despite the mediocre production.The flipside of the LP is certainly more consistent and propably a bit better than the opening one with a pronounced Classical flavor mixed nicely with jazzier interludes.While it opens in a typical Prog/Fusion realm, the rest of it shows Rhodes heavily armoured with organs, harpsichord and piano, producing very good Symphonic/Fusion along the lines of HAPPY THE MAN and E.L.P., full of intricate keyboard fanfares, double synth/organ attacks and complicated textures.One track is even led by his delicate harsichord work in a full-blown Classical mood and the amateur-sounding but rather limited horns is the only negative point of his whole effort.

Among the decent Progressive Rock oddities, ''Tropicsphere'' deserves some attention by all fans of keyboard-driven Progressive Rock because of Rhodes' tanted playing and his nice bunch of composing ideas.Recommended, although very rare.



  2. This was a very nice record. Couple of quibbles with the review. There's no Mellotron in this. It sounds like a Freeman String Symphoniser or an Arp String Ensemble. Very pleasant record!

  3. actually I used Mellotron on the Sphere of Influence LP; "Overture"...Crumar Orchestrator and looped RMI Lute on other pieces....Budget was tight in those days and spent most of earnings in the studio...very limited 8 track facility for "Tropicsphere" pong and bounce heaven... Later releases were 16 track...This November of 2015 VOD Records in Germany will be releasing a 4 LP boxed set of my compositions from 1978-1989...Featuring works on the indy Jazzical Records Label: many opuses taken from LP,cassette,and cds....I signed to Tangerine Dream label IC/Digit in 1992...Releasing 6 CDs...Currently Discogs,Amazon,and Ebay have LPs and CDs...Wikipedia will be available in a week or 2...Dr. Bill Rhodes...... other stuff can be heard still composing and performing 8/04/2015

  4. Thank you for keeping us informed! I will most certainly keep my eyes open in November to score myself a copy of that box, and when it comes out I'll place a link to VOD (vinyl-on-demand isnt it?) ... I would love to see some of the Jazzical stuff released on cd... still have a cassette of Quantum XII, but sadly enough the tape gor half eaten up by a faulty cassette deck in the 90's... Remember buying it in 1991 from a second hand store in The Hague (Any Record... best record store ever) together with the Life in Reverse tape of Alain Neffe. The Innovative Communication releases also are pretty hard to find... Really happy that you found us, and that you are still active! If we can be of any help promoting your releases, just drop us a line, I would be more than happy to comply.