JAG WIRE

KERRANG! ISSUE 102 – September 1985

JAG WIRE: ‘Made In Heaven’ (Target TE 1346)

JAG WIRE? Well, a ‘Jag Wah’ is a car owned by American posers and Tahnee Cain, maybe this is something for US posers with an even bigger speech impediment…

Another two-word name for the Target roster alongside the feisty Legs Diamond and the mighty but mindless Laaz Rockit, Jag Wire (formerly Sin) have a lot in common with the approach of the former, thank God. They don’t deliver their keyboard-coloured firepower with quite the same verve as Legs, and the sound is a little lacking in drama thanks to a guitar that doesn’t quite have the necessary edge, but the band write good songs and put them together well.

Keyboards player Vince Gilbert appears to be the owner of a Hammond organ judging by the dodgy whining noises that appear here and there, but fortunately his synths sound much better, capturing the archetypal guitar/keyboard blend of prime-time North American HR. As a first statement this short – eighttracks,30 minutes – album is a pretty good shot.

Paul Suter

IDLE EYES

KERRANG! ISSUE 102 – September 1985

IDLE EYES: ‘Idle Eyes’ (WEA25 1751)

MODERN ROCK and North American HR come face to face again, and Idle Eyes (brilliant name – say it quickly) deserve a commendation for getting it just about dead on. Tad Campbell of this Vancouver-based outfit served an apprenticeship in Australia and there’s a shade of Men At Work and other things Oz in what Idle Eyes do, but much more besides.

The songs are powerful and frequently dramatic, with lots of drive piled on by a strong rhythm section. Check out ‘Danger’ and ‘Wait For Me’ for easy listening action, or else drift away to the languid emotive urgency of ‘Tokyo Rose’.

Not Metal, but a damn fine record all the same.

Paul Suter

DONNA CRISTY

KERRANG! ISSUE 102 – September 1985

DONNA CRISTY: ‘People Will Talk’ (Phoenix DC10)

HMMM, ANOTHER raunchy girl rocker from the New York area – anyone for another Fiona? Okay, that’s unfair; despite the DC1O catalogue number (whose idea was that?) Donna Cristy is certainly not due for a nosedive – and ‘People Will Talk’ is a strong piece of admittedly low budget hard rock. It’s hampered somewhat by a rather thin sound and offers nothing really

outstanding to add to the sum total of female vocal achievement but Donna and her band are all capable performers and the material’s strong enough to make its mark.

The spirited cover of Rick Springfield’s ‘Smile For The Camera’ works particularly well, as does the hypnotic ’Right Before My Eyes’ thanks to the strong simplicity of its hook; there’s also an impressive ‘Rocking Through The Night’ which is a deadringer for ‘I’ve Got News For You’, an intense source of frustration right now since I can remember the song but not who recorded it!

Answers on a postcard to.

Paul Suter

JAG WIRE

KERRANG! ISSUE 102 – September 1985

JAG WIRE: ‘Made In Heaven’ (Target TE 1346)

JAG WIRE? Well, a ‘Jag Wah’ is a car owned by American posers and Tahnee Cain, maybe this is something for US posers with an even bigger speech impediment…

Another two-word name for the Target roster alongside the feisty Legs Diamond and the mighty but mindless Laaz Rockit, Jag Wire (formerly Sin) have a lot in common with the approach of the former, thank God. They don’t deliver their keyboard-coloured firepower with quite the same verve as Legs, and the sound is a little lacking in drama thanks to a guitar that doesn’t quite have the necessary edge, but the band write good songs and put them together well.

Keyboards player Vince Gilbert appears to be the owner of a Hammond organ judging by the dodgy whining noises that appear here and there, but fortunately his synths sound much better, capturing the archetypal guitar/keyboard blend of prime-time North American HR. As a first statement this short – eighttracks,30 minutes – album is a pretty good shot.

Paul Suter

ODIN

KERRANG! ISSUE 102 – September 1985

ODIN: ‘Don’t Take No For An Answer’ (Half Wet/Greenworld GWD9O5O9)

AN INTERESTING mixture of pleasure and pain from the extremely youthful Odin, at least one of whom looks too young to be drinking in the LA bars he evidently plays in.

As befits such a youthful band they’ve still got quite a way to go, of which this debut six-tracker is clear proof. There is pleasure to be found, though, in the peaks that this four-piece can reach, as evidenced by the exuberant flow of ’Shihing Love’, an impressive epic of light and shade; the pain lies in the weakness of their writing and the excruciating falsetto of vocalist Randy O. The title track has an awfully arranged hook which is nevertheless quite – involuntarily – memorable, whilst the others, save for ‘Shining Love’, prove limply begging for attention without ever actually tugging at the laces of your trainers.

The delivery’s a mite thin too – sounds like they need an extra guitarist to me -but all the members sound capable enough individually to get a grip on sterner stuff; if ’Shining Love’ is indeed the route they choose to follow they could emerge as impresive indeed.

Paul Suter

BARBARA PENNINGTON BAND

KERRANG! ISSUE 102 – September 1985

BARBARA PENNINGTON BAND: ‘One’ (Earth International ERO 185)

IT’S TAKEN a while but former ‘Armed And Ready’ starlet Barbara Pennington has finally emerged vinyl handed from her Houston base.

The album’s co-produced by guitarist Jeff Wells’ and Point Blank’s Rusty Burns, which makes it rather ironic that the guitar is the album’s one major weak point, totally underdone, when so much more could have been achieved given a ballsier, punchier approach. The synths of Danny Deluxe and/or (depending on the track in question) Steven Cooper are deliciously colourful and seductive however, spiralling melodic overtones to a succession of pop/Metal tunes rather reminiscent of early Toronto.

As vocalist and co-writer (with Jeff Wells) of most of the material, Barbara takes a deal of the weight herself and emerges with credit in both departments. Given a tougher production this could have been an outstanding

record but it is a good one nevertheless, veering from the throwaway fun of ’He’s So Fred’ through the perky ‘Don’t Take My Heart’ to the more powerful –

‘Catch You Later’, with every hook sinking in just like pop/ Metal hooks should.

Worth checking out.

PAUL SUTER

MEGUMI HAKAKAWA

KERRANG! ISSUE 102 – September 1985

MEGUMI HAKAKAWA: “Metal Version” (Toshiba EMI WTP 40199)

JAPANESE CARS are pretty good these days but there was a time when they were little more than’ lumps of tin with a wheel at each corner; those were the early days, and Japan is still in the early days when it comes to female-fronted Metal bands. Megumi Hayakawa looks decidedly demure and sounds just as unconvincing in the raunch department despite the finely honed attack of her band.

This is a mere four-track EP consisting wholly of covers; the credits display typical Nipponese politeness with ‘Gudbuy T’ Jane’ credited to Neville Holder and James Lea and ‘I Wanna Rock” crediting Daniel Dee Snider in full. The other tracks are Paul Stanley’s ’C’mon And Love Me’ and ‘Sons And Lovers’ from the new Alcatrazz album (somebody’s on the ball – the original is only just out!) and instrumentally it all sounds fine and fiery, but with no more than adequate vocals to complete the picture this is not the time to start getting excited about Japanese lady rockers.

PAUL SUTER

LIONS BREED

KERRANG! ISSUE 102 – September 1985

LIONS BREED: ‘Damn The Night’ (Earthshaker ES4008)

YAWN..Another totally competent German HM band whose sole credit mark is that, competence. Everything here has been done a million times before, frequently better and often more convincingly too. The problem with Lions Breed is that they’ve got nothing to say and don’t seem to care. Standard fare throughout and when the potentially interesting ‘Value Of Hell’ (eh?) shows up to end the album they ruin it by sounding so damn tired when a bit of excitement could actually have, earned them the winner in extra time.

PAUL SUTER

MARINO THE BAND

KERRANG! ISSUE 102 – September 1985

MARINO THE BAND: “Wanna Keep You Satisfied” (LRM Records LRM100)

MARINO IS a nice enough bloke and his pretty sister/partner, Lisa Dominque, is a very good looking gal… but that’s where the compliments end for this band l’m afraid, for this debut album – following a none too impressive ’ECT’ appearance – is a pretty dismal affair.

It wouldn’t be too bad if Marino was an outstanding’ guitarist, but he shows only the occasional sign of being able to do something interesting with that lump of Wood hanging round his neck and in fact displays very little potential.

It wouldn’t be too bad if there were some, decent songs here for the band to wrap themselves around, but from ‘Listen To My Heart’ and ‘Wanna Keep You Satisfied’ through ‘I Don’t Know’ and ‘Black ’N’ White World’ to ‘Gonna Make Me Cry’ and ‘Fun For The Money’, the material is limp, languid and lifeless.

And it wouldn’t’ be too bad if Lisa could at least sing, but throughout every groove she seems incapable-of doing…anything with her voice other than drone. ‘Somebody Special” on the first side is an ideal opportunity for the lovely looking lass to flex her lungs and bleed the song, but there’s no soul, passion, energy or conviction in her voice. . . sounds as if she, could’ve been doing the bloody housework at the time!

All said and done, though, a smart production could’ve tidied everything up a little, smoothed over the cracks and made it all modestly presentable. But there’s not even that luxury here, I’m afraid. Make no mistake, the production on this album is more cruel to the band than I could ever be with the pen.

But isn’t there even the faintest ray of hope for Marino? ’Well, ‘Suzie Don’t Rock ‘N Roll’ at the outset of Side Two seems to find the band awake at last, and Marino even appears to have realised that he can do something with his guitar. And immediately after there’s the instrumental ‘Borderline’, which isn’t particularly brilliant by any stretch of the imagination, but when lined up against the vapid vocal tracks it comes across OK. But that’s it.

To be brutally honest, ‘Wanna Keep You Satisfied’ is an extremely poor and in places embarassing debut album from an outfit which seems completely out of its depth in a recording studio. In the real world, good looks is no effective substitute for talent and the sooner Marino realises this the better.

MARK PUTTERFORD

FASTER PUSSYCAT

KERRANG! ISSUE 145 April 1987

IT SEEMS as if Poison have opened a bottomless can of lip gloss Luthers, FlexNet Frasers and Chanel Chesters. In the platinum stiletto wake of Bret Michaels’ bombastic buccaneers come the likes of LA Guns (who’ve just recruited former Girl/Tormé lead vocalist Phil Lewis), Jet Boy, Cat House, Guns n’Roses (not a glam band but certainly cast in the slack-eyed image of the Stones, Aerosmith et al, the same dyed-in-black roots as the genuine glamsters) and, perhaps most exciting of all, Faster Pussycat (pictured below).

Faster Pussycat – the name says it all really, sleaze winders possessed of marinated claws that dig deep with a slovenly, sly slouch – and a taste for the loosest pf morals. It reflects in the music, too. Couched in the sort of rifts an’ rhythms first dragged through an alcoholic daze by those same Stones, Faces, Aerosmith and the New York Dolls, this is wonderfully gyrating sleaze souped up for the late Eighties and given the perfect production balance between latter day tightness and a barroom brawl attitude by Ric Browde, who has previously worked with such luminaries as Ted Nugent, Victory. . . and Poison.

So, just who are these band’s line-up is Taime Downe (lead vocals), Eric Stacey (bass), Bret Muscat/Greg Steele (guitar) and Mark Michals (drums). They’ve been together now for nigh on a year, originally under the management guidance of Vickie Hamilton, who also handled affairs for Poison in their early LA crazy maze. It was through her that the band first got in touch with Browde. . . and the rest can be heard on the aforementioned, quite sensational vinyl debut slated for release during June on the Elektra label and set to perhaps follow Poison up to the platinum plateau.

“We’re influenced by bands such as the Faces, Stones and Aerosmith”, Downe told me recently on the phone from LA. “In fact we’re highly interested in all good scuzz music!

The LP itself took three weeks to record at Amigo Studios, Browde producing and mixing the tapes with engineer Jim Bomba in close attendance, with tracks such as the rollicking ‘Cathouse’ (at first titled ‘The Best Whorehouse In Town’ but

changed in order to facilitate the possibility of mainstream radio airplay), ‘Babylon And On’ (rap technique meets red tints in the eyeglass), ‘I Got Your Number On The Bathroom Wall’ (the title says it all) and ‘Bottle In Front Of Me’ (tease-wallowing, guttersnipe alcoholism) set to become flash faves in the coming months.

The five -piece (who also run the hottest new night spot in LA – The Cathouse Club) intend to follow the release of this album with a major US tour (“we’re hoping to pick up the support slot with a big act,” explains Downe) and with Warren Entner (Black N’ Blue, Quiet Riot) now managing their affairs things certainly seem to be slotting into place.

Faster Pussycat a band gradually going nova with the heat of their own talent

MALCOLM DOME