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Girls Gone Rock 'n' Roll - 83%

Ancient Sunlight, January 4th, 2015
Written based on this version: 2004, CD, Lemon Records

During the NWOBHM, there were two great all-female bands. The first was the legendary Girlschool, which received a lot of publicity and support from other musicians, including Lemmy. The other never grew larger than a cult band: Rock Goddess. Unlike Girlschool, which was born and bred in the club scene, Rock Goddess developed their sound independently. It was initially formed by the then prepubescent sisters Jody Turner and Julie Turner, whose often solemn emotional turmoils we put to paper convincingly.

The songs are, in order, about a crippling heartache, being unable to leave a dysfunctional relationship, love still lingering after a breakup, a man betraying a girl and making her feel worthless for it, someone waking up without a bad a man in her life and embracing this new life, an attractive man turning a girl on so much that she couldn't withstand messy sex even when she dreamed about a pretty romance, a man with two sides first loving a girl and then leaving her without notice, a girl realizing she must run from a once good relationship that quickly turned sour, a girl being incredibly horny for a man, and one-side love where a girl gives everything but a man nothing. The final track is a standard rock 'n ' roll anthem, added, it seems, as an afterthought.

The pattern is obvious. These girls lived the "sex" and "rock 'n' roll" part, that's for sure. I can hardly believe I actually like an album featuring those themes, but it does entice. It is convincing, and that's enough. The girls were only about 20 and 16 at the time, so you can indulge them. The restless and wild part of female sexuality is admirably laid out: it's not all high romanticism and dreaming together during starry nights; there's more:

“From the moment that I first met you / I knew, yes I guessed / We were just made for each other / But I didn't foresee the mess / Messy loving in the back of a car / No romance under the stars / Messy moments where nothing was said / Just hot breathing in a dirty bed”

The girls' sadness can be felt in the appropriate passages, while you can almost taste their excitement in songs like Make My Night: "I want your body, is that obscene? / I need your body, dirty or clean ... Come on, come on baby, come on / Come on and make my night" Talk about getting down and dirty! Songs like this are rarely heard form a female perspective, so it is rather refreshing and fun to see girls indulge in it too. It's part of the spirit of rock 'n' roll, isn't it?

The singing by Jody Turner is grim, gritty and raw, as if she had been bellowing the whole night before. It has a slightly nasal sound too, that is oddly unsettling but also indefinably suitable. The singing fits the lyrics, calling to mind a girl who does, indeed, like to get down and dirty, but who also has a more sensitive side. The choruses also have a lot of power, especially in the last track, a nice anthem about “Heavy Metal Rock 'n' Roll” -- because why not both?

The guitar leads are exceptionally good in their simple, catchy structure. They draw the listener in for the 3 or so minutes required. The band had two guitarists for a long time, so many of the fine riffs must have come from sessions with their past guitarists. Because the band is now a three-piece, and because the production is relatively good for a 1983 NWOBHM album, the bass guitar comes out really well too. It offers excellent support, and even great leads in a few passages. The drumming is steady and simple, which works. The drum sound is nice and powerful, never annoying or obtrusive.

Get this album if you like the NWOBHM, and can stand girls parading their wild side, because it's on display in full view here!

A Damn Solid Debut - 80%

brocashelm, September 28th, 2009

England’s Rock Goddess had two big strikes against them. Firstly they were a touch late for the NWOBHM, and secondly they were perceived as a doppelganger to Girlschool, the nation’s premier all female metal outfit. This is unfortunate, because by ’83 Girlschool were well on their way to becoming irrelevant, while Rock Goddess had made a snappy and energetic debut of surprising quality.

Surprising I say, not because of the band’s sex, but because of their youth as a band. Much like the Runaways, Rock Goddess performed short and sweet anthems with a pop sensibility melded with tough rock sound. Guitarist Jody Turner possessed a gritty but tuneful voice, also delivering solid and biting rythym work, while sister Julie and bassist Tracey Lamb hold down the grooves with a locked in, solid feel. All of this serves to give plenty of life to the band’s economical tunes, “Heartache,” “Back To You,” and “Satisfied Then Crucified” being among the best. Top track has gotta be “My Angel, however, a really strong and tense up-tempo rocker that stands among the NWOBHM’s best. Production from renowned sound dude Vic Maile helps deliver the goods in vivid style, giving us a strong start to finish debut from a cool band.

Afterwards the band would issue Hell Hath No Fury, an overproduced, under-exciting affair before vanishing for some time. They’d reform occasionally without great results, making their debut their essential hour of power.