A Toast To Panama Red
Freedom Train, Vol 1, Issue 3, 1996 by Ian McFarlaine
Taken as a whole, this album stands as a high watermark of the Aussie progressive Rock era. It's a remarkable album of extraordinary skill and rare precision. The song arrangements are free flowing, yet tightly structured and highlight Doug Ford's exemplary guitar technique. The guitar sounds are phenomenal with Doug's heavy fuzzed leads and Glenn Wheatly's solid bass lines driving the music ever onwards.
Tracks like Answer Lies Beyond, The Lesson So Listen, Melodies of St Kilda and Southern Cross are built around incisive heavy rock riffs. They also contain some of the most incendiary, free-form, acid-fried guitar freakouts you're ever likely to hear on an Aussie progressive album.
Beneath the Sun possess an intriguing psych/country tinged edge, while the majestic pop of Love Is benefits from the addition of a trilling horn arrangement.
The band even tackled the grandiose orchestrations of the Moody Blues styled Games We Play Part I & II with considerable style. The album ends on a beautifully elegiac and reflective note with the gentle folksy strains of Thyme To Rhyme.
A Toast To Panama Red is a truly awesome progressive rock masterpiece and the absolute best Australian album of the period.