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Articles Home » 1987 Articles » Lions And Ghosts - 1987 Velvet Kiss, Lick Of The Lime
Lions And Ghosts - 1987 Velvet Kiss, Lick Of The Lime

ARTIST: Lions And Ghosts
ALBUM: Velvet Kiss, Lick Of The Lime
LABEL: EMI America
SERIAL: CDP 7 46959 2
YEAR: 1987


LINEUP: Rick Parker - vocals, guitars, keyboards * Michael Lockwood - guitars, vocals * Todd Hoffman - bass, vocals * Michael Martin Murphey - drums, vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Passion * 02 Man In The Car * 03 Mary Goes Round * 04 Stay * 05 Street Angel * 06 Girl On A Swing * 07 Love Kisses From The Gutter * 08 When The Moon Is Full * 09 Contradiction * 10 Wilton House * 11 One Theme

Los Angeles based band Lions And Ghosts might seem like an unusual selection for this website. But considering we've reviewed the likes of Japan and other like minded bands here courtesy of our resident expert Eric, I think it's high time we looked at the impact of Rick Parker and his bandmates on the 80's scene. In a way, this quartet were fresh, slightly different, mixing up the old (Bowie, Hoople, Bolan etc) and the contemporary mid 80's rock style, where the scene in the USA was a literal traffic jam of acts/bands signed to big labels, and all being promoted as the next R.E.M! Many died in the crush and suffocation of A&R egos, the reality being that many just couldn't find a way through the minefield of mediocrity that was passing itself off as successful. A band like L&G could cross over into different genres with ease, and in places, they touch on genres that are well covered here at GDAZE.

The Songs
A big intro for opener 'Passion' is worthy of the entrance fee for this album. Strutting guitars and a spacious production allows L&G lots of room to manoeuvre. 'Man In A Car' is a simple whimsical 60's ditty that will appeal to Beatles fans, nothing like 'Mary Goes Round', which is cool tune with pumping bass and growling guitar lines. 'Stay' is a melancholy ballad which borders on the depressive, it has a British feel to it. Though nice in places, it's not one I'll come back to. Keeping it mid-tempo is the lonely girl vulnerability of 'Street Angel', while the very cool jazz style of 'Girl On A Swing' is so out there, that Rick Parker has emulated Harry Connick Jnr to a tee! Returning to a more familiar brand of melodic rock is 'Love And Kisses From The Gutter', much more upbeat and aggressive.. I like this one a lot! 'When The Moon Is Full' contains a load of symphonic elements, again mid-tempo and relatively straight forward. 'Contradiction' is another cool sounding tune, with references to Gene Loves Jezebel. I think this was the band's initial single off the album. 'Wilton House' echoes that British alt-pop sound of the mid 80's (a la The Smiths, Depeche Mode etc), while admittedly it's a genre that didn't do anything for me, it sounds ok here. 'One Theme' the final track also reverts to the melancholy, and perhaps that's the way the album will be remembered.. just a few too many melancholy moments - not enough to drink yourself to a slumber, though I'm sure a few of America's University and College population during the mid-late 80's might have attempted it!

In Summary
There are more than enough likeable moments here. If you liked bands like Til Tuesday, The Replacements, Hotel Hunger and the previously mentioned Gene Loves Jezebel, then Lions And Ghosts should be given a listen. The band eventually moved onto a second album called 'Wild Garden' during 1989, but the public weren't buying, so the band called it a day. The mainstay Rick Parker, moved onto a solo album in 1991, before becoming involved with the trio Sparkler, who released one EP in 1997. There is a little bit of info on Lions And Ghosts out on the Net, but we have assembled it in this review to make it easier for you to digest in one go.

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This article has been tagged
#1 | Eric on April 28 2009 21:34:17
Good, good record and yes, here in the States it got buried. I remember one clueless reviewer in a local paper comparing them to G'N'R which told me he never listened to the album.

Thumbs Up
#2 | Nick C on May 01 2009 17:33:07
Fantastic, fantastic, fantastic! What a great album, Rick Parker has a great voice, with that dry sort of feel like Tom Cochrane has. One of my fave albums ever.
From the bounce of Man in a Car to the hard rock of Love and Kisses from the Gutter to the melancholy feel of Wilton House...all bases are covered albeit with a kind of wryness about the songs (if that's the right word)
Sparkler also released an album called Wicker Park by the way.
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