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Articles Home » 1981 Articles » Point Blank - 1981 American Excess
Point Blank - 1981 American Excess

ARTIST: Point Blank
ALBUM: American Excess
YEAR: 1981
CD REISSUE: 1993, MCA (Japan), MVCM-355


LINEUP: Bobby Keith - vocals * Rusty Burns - guitars * Kim Davis - guitars * Bill Randolph - bass * Mike Hamilton - keyboards * Peter Gruen - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Let Me Stay With You Tonight * 02 Walk Across The Fire * 03 Nicole * 04 Go On Home * 05 The Getaway * 06 The Way You Broke My Heart * 07 Restless * 08 Cadillac Dragon * 09 Do It All Night


A much discussed band here at Glory Daze are Point Blank, with two prior reviews and an interview with Rusty Burns, but such a fine act that every album deserves a review in its own right. 'American Excess' catches the band at their most interesting point, as they attempted to ease out of their 70's southern roots and into a more contemporary AOR sound. Point Blank's four previous albums were all must haves, with no wasted tracks, one of which 'Airplay' (1979) demonstrated how keyboards were to play an integral part in their future, a case in point (no, it's not what you think!) 'Penthouse Pauper'. The other key factor of 'American Excess' was the debut of Bobby 'Bubba' Keith, who replaced John O'Daniel. Keith had seen time with the James Gang and England Dan, a perfect foil for Point Blank's new direction.

The Songs
While the majority of the album is commercial it's noticeable that the band hadn't totally eased out of their Southern years, the album a mixture of both on the whole. However 'Let Me Stay With You Tonight' is fully fledged AOR and perhaps came as a shock to listeners who just a year earlier had been grooving to 'Rock 'N' Roll Soldier, pure boogie! The harmonies are AOR perfection and the same goes for the radio beckoning chorus. A sublime transition that was faultlessly executed! 'Walk Across The Fire' is harder driven with riffs akin to the days of yore unlike the hit single 'Nicole' which was the bands only chart placing song, reaching no 39. This can still be heard on radio often, a harmless melodic gem with a tasty guitar solo. Taking things further is 'Go On Home', which opens as a Slade like stomp and singalong, the recipient of a bouncy backbeat. It eases into AOR territory gradually, but with a nifty southern tinged guitar solo. A winning trio of combinations. 'The Getaway' reverts back to more serious sounding hard rock, something which can't be said of 'The Way You Broke My Heart', superlative AOR to one and all! The opening synth onslaught, the pomp connections, a vague Foreigner tone, it's all magical, and better than almost anything by the previously mentioned act. One to go out of your way to hear, and an amazing achievement by a band who make it sound like they had been doing this all along. Keith's vocals on 'Restless ' lead me to believe Glenn Hughes was hijacked for lead vocals and put in his place, such is the similarity in style. This could have assumed a place on the Hughes-Thrall masterpiece. The harmonica use on 'Cadillac Dragon' is tailor made for this slight southern rocker, with shades of the Doobie Brothers. It's proof the band wasn't totally AOR yet. This is also confirmed by the tear up that is 'Do It All Night', a speed driven party rocker with a thunderous drum section from Gruen.

In Summary
Like all of Point Blank's albums this is about as faultless as possible, the AOR promise of which was fulfilled on the magnificent 'On A Roll' from 1982. That a band could transition in the manner Point Blank did is almost unfathomable in 2004. After all if you're going to change tack, then AOR 's the way to go. Rusty Burns made no apologies for the shift in direction and he didn't need to. I couldn't imagine hardcore fans being upset with the quality as high as it was. A perfect reflection of a truly great band.

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#1 | Eric on June 19 2008 00:39:27
Saw these guys on Journey's 'Escape' tour. Very unimpressed. The vocalist carried half a Mike stand ala Freddie Mercury without the same drama and the group looked tired and sounded so, although the sold out audience perked up when they announced 'Nicole' as their last song.
#2 | dangerzone on June 19 2008 03:18:13
Maybe they were burned out from non-stop touring. I know Burns said something in the interview that they had some kind of record or something for continuous concerts played.
#3 | MNWild87 on April 17 2013 02:59:02
My father in law partied with these guys until he reminded them how they got booed off opening for seger the year before. That being said they sound good on album. Nicole is a really good song
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