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PM - 1988 PM

LABEL: Warner Bros
SERIAL: 9 25751-1 (LP), 9 25751-2 (CD)
YEAR: 1988


LINEUP: Peter Mayer - vocals, guitars * Jim Mayer - bass, vocals * Roger Guth - drums, vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Piece Of Paradise * 02 Say It Again * 03 Moonlight Over Paris * 04 Nothing * 05 Somebody's Gonna Cry * 06 The Wanting * 07 On The Corner * 08 When First We Were Lovers * 09 Boy Meets Girl * 10 Love Is A Stranger

Considered a soft rock/West Coast classic this one, the whole thing dying a death before people could cotton on to the magic that Peter Mayer brings to the songwriting table. Peter Mayer without question is the catalyst for the band, and his roots are an exotic blend of an upbringing in India, coupled with his love for music. From St Louis, Peter, who is a music theory graduate with a love for jazz guitar, hooked up with longtime cohorts brother Jim and drummer Roger Guth. Their first effort from 1985 was called 'Left Lane'. The next album three years later was given a big boost on the Warner Bros ticket, with Elliot Scheiner (Steely Dan, Aretha Franklin, Bruce Hornsby) producing. PM's style is very much West Coast styled light rock, and shows little of Mayer's jazz influenced background.. the whole album being a melodic rockers cruisy wonderland.

The Songs
The lead-off single 'Piece Of Paradise' reached #8 on the Billboard chart, but the album is not a one-hit wonder, as there are some other superb moments aboard. The exquisite 'Moonlight Over Paris' is indeed a nighttime melter, as is the subtle brilliance of 'When First We Were Lovers'. We step into Novo Combo territory with 'The Wanting', the insistent melodies beating a path back to 1982 with a vengeance. The mid-tempo melodrama of 'Boy Meets Girl' tells the time honored tale of love on the run, while the California warmth shines down on 'Love Is A Stranger'.. west coast music typified in 4m 57s of aural smoothness. other highlights include the harder rockin' 'I Live In A Hole', 'Say It Again' and the Boz Scaggs like affair that is 'Nothing'.

In Summary
Despite the top ten single, major tours with the Moody Blues and Chicago, and being accorded enthusiastic national media reviews, PM got lost in the Warner Brothers shuffle. The efforts of PM did not completely disappear. A couple of hard to come by albums have resurfaced, namely 1993's 'Street Of Dreams' and '1995's 'Red Wine And Lemonade'. After the Warner Bros shuffle, PM effectively became Jimmy Buffet's backing band, due to the involvement of producer Elliot Scheiner. This relationship continues to this day, though Peter is also a solo recording artist in his own right, releasing a series of fantastic albums during the late nineties.

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#1 | code4 on October 14 2015 17:19:05
Left lane- 'In Common' (never released on cd) which is currently posted on youtube sounds more Jazz focused than this debut of 'PM' (PM being the initials of the lead singer but meant as the band name- i would guess at the height of U2-mania, two letter band names seemed like a lucrative proposition).

Anyhow, I have always thought that had Warner released 'Moonlight over paris' as the follow up single to the relatively successful 'Piece of Paradise' single (which probably had some people mistake this band as a techy Police clone and little more- particularly the way the group seemed to disappear off the face of the earth after it), PM might've hit it way bigger yet for some reason instead they released songs more suited to contemporary radio like 'Say it Again'. You can imagine my surprise- and lack there-of- when Peter Mayer in a recent interview said basically the exact same thing. 'Moonlight over Paris' was easily the next most 'pop radio' ready thing here. The story, anyhow, goes that PM had signed a deal for multiple albums with Warner but only shortly after the release of this excellent debut they were then caught up in a management change at the label whereby the new powers took a hatchet to a load of groups on the roster, including them.

Other greats include 'When First we were lovers' which has subtle touches of that unique PM almost surrealistic vibe that we got even more of on 'Street of Dreams' (the great second PM album George has mentioned) in songs like 'Kiss and Tell' or the title cut (with those weird tripped out lyrics such as 'the address that you gave, is an ancient arcade, an old house full of games..').

'Love is a stranger' with it's clever musical changes and subtle use of delay is another summertime feeling gem of a song as is 'The wanting' with it's wonderful fluid sounding intro where the instruments kick in and then lock together so tightly with the drums just moments later. What a tasty groove moment that is. I'm sure i've nearly blown up my largest set of speakers with that song on a number of occasions. I would say it is again surely going to bring to mind The Police for many listeners when it bursts into the chorus. 'Nothing' another great song (with a cool keyboard solo to boot).

The album is perhaps not without it's slight weakness'.. 'Somebody's gonna Cry' is not particularly good to my ears. A rather jarring unpleasant listen actually. The Brasilian jazz influenced 'Say it Again', if a good song, can be a little irritating on the ear too (god knows why Warner released this as a single, but then i suppose they never really promoted it and did drop PM pretty much right afterwards as stated earlier). 'Boy Meets Girl' perhaps not the strongest moment, but overall i still would give this album an easy 4 stars for a debut effort. Most of the songs are super and the production by legendary Elliot Scheiner is a world-class marvel in itself.

I hope in the future this site might have the other PM album's showcased too. They deserve it. The second is another summer-feel masterpiece and the third is a somewhat unusual mixed affair but the good songs on it are incredible and every bit as good as their best stuff. The second actually came first on cassette only in 1990 (though the cd version which came out in 1993 deleted one track and added a dozen others). And if the god of GloryDaze wants to make a tiny correction (not that it's a big deal or anything), the third album (Red Wine..) was also 1993 rather than 95. 95 was the year Mayer came out with his solo debut (though still largely backed the other PM members) 'Green Eyed Radio'. Cheers.

And lastly, what a pity this PM debut cd is so damn hard to find still. High time for a re-issue i'd say. It's not even on itunes or the like. What exactly are warner's motives? You would almost be suspicious of them when you consider they gave 'Moonlight over Paris' to Vanessa Williams in 1994 to cover on one of her massive selling albums. Also PM members have said in recent years they have asked warner a couple of times if they can work together on doing a re-issue but that requests have fallen on dead ears
#2 | gdazegod on March 26 2016 22:10:03
The Warner Bros back catalog is heavily reissued by Wounded Bird as we all know. I agree with Code4, this is another marvel well due for a proper reissue. So if not Wounded Bird, then Rock Candy. Peter Mayer's liner notes would make for interesting reading.
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