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19-11-2017 09:44
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Articles Home » 1982 Articles » Noel And The Red Wedge - 1982 Peer Pressure
Noel And The Red Wedge - 1982 Peer Pressure

ARTIST: Noel And The Red Wedge
ALBUM: Peer Pressure
LABEL: Scotti Bros
YEAR: 1982


LINEUP: Noel - lead & background vocals * John Aseley Otten - guitar, background vocals * Kurt Kearnes - guitars * Mitchell Froom - keyboards * Ricky Phillips - bass, background vocals * Veyler Hildebrand - bass * Frankie Banali, Thom Mooney - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Special To You * 02 Act Of Love * 03 She's A Big Girl Now * 04 Stranger * 05 Tell Me Why * 06 Peer Pressure * 07 Still Life With Luger * 08 Slow Motion * 09 Waiting (I'm Not) * 10 Specimen

I remember seeing this record in a store and buying it based just on the players involved. Frankie Banali from Quiet Riot, Thom Mooney formerly of The Nazz and Paris, as well The Babys Ricky Phillips who contributes one song to the project. Noel herself was cute in a Daryl Hannah sort of way but I had never heard of her prior to this LP until a few years later coming across a 1979 album 'Dancing Is Dangerous' produced by none other than Ron and Russell Mael of Sparks. As a Sparks fanboy, I found the album a bit of disappointment at the time, but have since grown older and wiser warming to its quirky disco pop mix. By the time 'Peer Pressure' was recorded the Mael's were out of the picture although their influence can still be felt.

The Songs
New wave pop is the order of the day, squarely in the colourful direction Cyndi Lauper would take a year later with 'She's So Unusual'. While 'Peer Pressure' never reached the commercial zenith as that album, it's a fun period piece worth hearing. 'Special To You' is certainly paint-by-numbers new wave as is the bouncy 'Act Of Love', but both cuts are so well done it's useless to try and resist their charms. It's remarkable just how much Noel's voice sounds like that of Lauper's, a bit of that sharp shrill and baby coo wrapped up in a spicy red package. 'Stranger' slows things down with a cool ballad in the Berlin vein, while the Ricky Phillips penned 'Tell Me Why' brings to mind Pat Benatar and is the most 'AOR' of the albums ten cuts, sure to please the bulk of our readership. On side two the title track continues the aggressive trend although it's not one of the albums better cuts unfortunately. The Sparks styled 'Still Life With Luger' is without a doubt my favourite track, 'Christmassy' with bells, haunting synth work and chorus it's an experimental avenue I wish she had explored more here and on her first record. 'Slow Motion' pre-dates the Scandal sound with 'Specimen' closing out the record very much like a lost Berlin track, both eerie and beautiful.

In Summary
A fun record and due to her connection with Sparks, Noel's albums have become cult items, 'Dancing Is Dangerous' the harder to find of the two. With this in mind, I'm sure a CD reissue of both albums and/or a retrospective can't be too far away.

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#1 | gdazegod on February 09 2009 03:39:38
Good find Eric. Certainly, she does have that Daryl Hannah thing going on. Very cute!
#2 | super80boy on July 04 2015 18:44:33
A very fun album indeed! Female fronted new wave with AOR vibes mixed in, like in the standout 'Tell Me Why' and urgently paced title song. 'Still Life With Luger' slows the pace, adds some cool sound effects and synths. There's more AOR to be found in 'Waiting (I'm Not)' with its strong guitar lines. Really like the closing 'Specimen'…. Peer Pressure has lots of catchy melodies, a crisp production and an emotive female singer which equates to an enjoyable listening experience.
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