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“…I’m Virgo, my Leo’s rising, Venus made me king…”
Just as summer vacation was fizzling out like an old sparkler for us depressed kids, Blackie and his band of boobs were pressing their third single in five months and their second (the track "F**k Like a Beast" was supposed to be on the debut, but was dropped for obvious reasons) in support of a debut lp that was so new on the shelf it hadn’t even began to warp in the August sun filtering through gunky record shop windows.
This particular single, however, was a 12” promo not meant for fourteen year old hands puckered from playing Marco Polo in the pool for the last three hours. In fact, only fortunate Japanese fans would see the much flashier public pressing of L.O.V.E. Machine in about a month. No, normal folk really knew nothing of this thing’s existence ‘cos it shipped straight to fairly important industry people i.e. disc jockeys, PR blokes, A&R fabricators and others crowned with such status, who received so many from so many labels it was likely flung into overstuffed racks and nearby stacks. Luckily, however, it did receive play, as did its video.
Anyway, both sides are machined with love, grooving the a-side with the Rock Radio mix, meanwhile the flip features the LP version. Oddly they’re the same length, which became less of a mystery after determining they’re essentially the same song, ‘cos their differences escape me. Either way, “L.O.V.E. Machine” is the potent, perfectly-placed uppercut that follows up the full-lengther’s initial right cross, “I Wanna be Somebody”. If these two tracks whipped across your frontal lobe and didn’t galvanize you to press the listening experience further, I would only assume the next eight tracks probably wouldn’t have fared much better. Your loss.
That’s the summer I totally wore the shit outta my Stay Hungry cassette.
Note: because of the disc's label deceit, it's given a lower score than the actual song deserves, which is a tousled low-mid A.
“Animal (Fuck Like A Beast),” “I Wanna Be Somebody,” and “Sleeping (In The Fire)” are all classics, but everyone remembers “L.O.V.E. Machine” for encompassing all the characteristics of early 80s W.A.S.P. It doesn’t have the best solo, best chorus, best verse, best lead or anything, but it still kicks ass in every category.
The verse is emotional as fuck, with the lyrics really coming alive through Blackie’s mournful yell. This is the one songs I sing along to every time I hear it since it puts me more in the music than the other ones… well, sans “Sleeping (In The Fire).” The guitars don’t really go all out, since they’re the same chords struck throughout, but in culmination with mainly Blackie’s voice you’ll find it to be a real treat.
The solo is also more classical and Maiden-esque than most of the other ones, which is a reason why I enjoy a hell of a lot. Drumming is perfect with the clamor of crashing cymbals, galloping double bass, and machinegun-like tom hits. Bass isn’t all too standout, even though the song goes up and down in intensity, which is a downer for Lawless since on the other songs he really does a standout job.
The last thing I want to say about this release is that I can’t hear a difference between the two versions here. Yes, it says that they are two different accounts, but they really aren’t different at all. One’s a radio version and the other is from the LP, but bottom line is that they highlight the same studio version. Whatever, don’t pick up this single, but let the awesomeness rub off and persuade you to check out the debut.