For Americans, the first real exposure to Lawrence Gowan came when he first joined the lineup of Styx in 1999, but he had been a superstar in Canadian music since his breakthrough smash album Strange Animal in 1985. Three years before that, in 1982, he released this self-titled debut album ,Gowan, on Columbia Records. Also featuring another Canadian giant, Kim Mitchell, on guitar, the album is a high-energy, straightforward rock & roll album, with more edge than its follow-up. It was a good indicator of things to come for the artist who would go on to release a multitude of gold and platinum records in Canada. A conservatory-trained pianist, Gowan is a gifted singer, songwriter, and keyboardist, and a natural performer with the ability to be a star on both sides of the border. He has a wonderful sense of melody; there are great powerful hooks as well as beautifully elegant ballads here. He also delivers his songs with a deep passion, especially on hard-driving numbers such as "Keep Up the Fight" and "Victory." In terms of production, the album does sound a bit more dated at times than some of its 1982 counterparts, but nowhere near enough to keep one from seeing what a strong record this is. Though the album was not a great commercial success for the then unknown Gowan, every song is a good one and you come away from the experience energized and hungry for more.
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AllMusic Review by Alan Ticheler