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Silk department - 24%

Felix 1666, December 24th, 2016
Written based on this version: 1983, 12" vinyl, Bronze Records

My dear friends, I do not know whether I can bring this review to an end. The sticky sound of this album jeopardises the functionality of my laptop's keyboard. I fear that the single keys will soon adhere firmly to the board in view of the saccharine, synthetic production of "Play Dirty". Did I write "dirty"? Who the hell selected this word for the album's name? Must have been a complete idiot. Here is nothing dirty, quite the opposite. Everything is polished and without edges and corners. The songs are smooth as silk. Welcome to the Metal-Archives, Silk Department.

The once more or less rebellious and angry band (remember "Demolition" or "C'mon Let's Go") appears as a mere shadow of its former self. The soft keyboards at the beginning of the opener set the course for the rest of the album. Too bad that the needle of the compass points in the absolutely wrong direction. In optical terms, the girls deliver a lukewarm "Sex sells" photograph and I was one of the douchebags that fell into the trap. Youthful folly! The music is as terrible as the cover. "Burning in the Heat", for example, mixes Kate Bush verses with Kiss-like choirs during the chorus and a fairly lively guitar provides an acceptable solo. Does not sound so bad to you? Believe me, it is a dreadful experience. Loverboy and comparable cretins in sportswear seemed to be the new idols of the actually competent ladies. But don't even think about pretty vehement Loverboy (rock / pop) tracks such as "Working for the Weekend". Girlschool have decided to choose the lame songs of this formation to serve as a reference. I don't intend to offend the guys on the other side of the Atlantic, but everything sounds absolutely Americanized.

The tragic of the album is that some relatively proper parts are hidden deep under the approximately thousands layers of sugar. The title track starts with a catchy riff which shapes the chorus as well. Yet after the second chorus, the girls begin to whine gruesomely. "You know it's always a game"? Honestly speaking, this is new for me. But if this a game, I want to go to work immediately. The electronic and clinical verses of "Rock Me, Shock Me" (I already mentioned Kiss as an influence, if I am not mistaken) cause rash, but the bridge surprises with a sufficient degree of heaviness and the chorus confirms the performance increase. The solid closer is the only track that offers relatively sharp guitars. Too little, too late.

Those weirdos who always look on the bright side of life will enjoy a small amount of mature melodies (that have nothing in common with metallic sounds). They will say that the band proves a fine sense for sensitive harmonies. Yet I cannot share this point of view. Arena sounds or glam rock have always been the playground for musicians whose understanding of good entertainment is completely different to mine. However, broad parts of this album suck. The fair punishment followed immediately. "Hit and Run" had reached the fifth, "Screamin' Blue Murder" the 27th position of the UK charts, but "Play Dirty" did not surpass the 66th place. A commercial flop, ridiculous - but consistent with the content of this softened, sticky nonsense. An_ n_w, as expecte_, s_me _f my keys __n't w_rk anym_re. Sh_t!

Ahh... Generic 80's Album Production - 55%

The_Scrab, May 23rd, 2010

The first thing that strikes me about this album is how much it tries to sound like it was recorded in Los Angeles. The production on this album is so slick and typically eighties that, if not for the distinctive all girl sound of the band, the listener could easily mistake it for any number of Bon Jovi's or Ratt's of the day. in fact, this album is closer in sound to the first Vixen album to the first Girlschool album (it's thankfully less insipid though). In fact, there's so much reverb on the snare drum that I'm starting to suspect that the reverb has it's own reverb, it's ridiculous. It makes Frank Beard's drumming on the 80's era ZZ Top albums seem like the most acoustic and raw drumming you've ever heard in your life. To go with the new production, the songwriting is also much poppier than previous efforts, and it leaves us with a record divided evenly divided down the middle; about half's swill and the rest kills.

We'll start with the bad, I'm not sure what the hell "Breaking All The Rules" is trying to be, because it sounds like every bad 80s band shoved in a blender and pureed until there's nothing left but brains and blood and tufted up hairdos. I'm not even sure if there's anything to the song other than it's one line, obnoxious chorus and a weird, nonsensical guitar solo part, it's like the song was written and recorded without being arranged first. The other major offender of this album is the awful T. Rex cover, "20th Century Boy". It's a great song, in it's original version, but the cover present here really lacks any sort of original spin on it and seems to be performed on autopilot. It truly lacks the soul and spirit of the original. "Rock Me, Shock Me" should be taken out behind the chemical shed and filled with so many bullets that it'll set of every metal detector with in a ten mile radius. Other songs, like "Play Dirty" and "High and Dry", are otherwise decent songs that are marred by the inclusion of random 80s synth noises that only distract from the honest, four chord rock provided.

Thankfully, the album does provide some quality songs to balance the poppier moments, such as opening track "Going Under". It's an honest, riff driven metal song, and it has a much more honest feel to, even factoring in the glossy production, than most other songs on the album. This is a trend on the album, as the songs that seem to be written with radio play in mind are almost all godawful, and the songs that hearken back to the band's early days are almost all honest and powerful. It's apparent that, on this album, Girlschool were steered in certain directions by their record company that was not where the bands original focus and talent lay, and it accounts for the sub par performance of the the album as a whole and the fact that fans fled from it like it had the black plague. It's a shame, because the individual members were very talented songwriters and Kelly Johnson certainly was a very talented lead player. It's simply another case of record company interference.

In short, the album is a mixed bag, but at least worth a listen if one is a fan of the band. It certainly has it's share of bad moments, but there is still enough of the original fire found on earlier albums to make it worth enduring its running time.