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Articles Home » 1978 Articles » Stiletto (Australia) - 1978 License To Rage
Stiletto (Australia) - 1978 License To Rage

ARTIST: Stiletto (Australia)
ALBUM: License To Rage
LABEL: Oz Records
YEAR: 1978


LINEUP: Jane Clifton - lead vocals * Celeste Howard - bass, vocals * Andrew Bell - guitar, keyboards, vocals * Chris Worrall - guitar, vocals * E. Van Roosendael - drums, vocals

Additional Musicians: Sam McNally - electric piano * Martin Armiger - piano

TRACK LISTING: 01 Public Enemy No. 1 * 02 License To Rage * 03 Woman In A Man's World * 04 Bluebirds * 05 Not Too Young For Joy * 06 Goodbye Johnny * 07 Middle Of The Bed * 08 2nd Home * 09 Rozalyn

Described as 'Glam Rock' from an eBay seller who seemed to know what he was talking about, I took the bait, but having never heard of Stiletto or this album before, my bad for not doing some research before taking the plunge. One look at the cover with its phallic balloons and strange mannequins as well as guest appearances from members of The Sports and Stylus; my interest was peaked but as it turned out Glam rock its not. A few dollars poorer and none the wiser, some belated browsing on Google turned up some interesting but ultimately limited info. Hailing from Sydney, Australia; Stiletto made a name for themselves in the cities pub and workers club circuit and contributed three songs to the 1977 compilation 'Debutantes', none of which made it to 'License To Rage' the band's only album. From what I can tell no one in Stiletto went on to anything worthy of mention with the notable exception of vocalist Jane Clifton who went on to some success with an appearance on one of Jo Jo Zep & The Falcons later hits 'Taxi Mary' and had a successful pop single of her own in 1984 with 'Girl On The Wall'.

The Songs
Two songs from the LP were released as a single; the breezy pop of 'Bluebirds' probably stood the best chance while the rockier 'Goodbye Johnny' wasn't all that wonderful and in the end no great shakes or surprise neither charted. All the characteristics of stripped-bare new wave are present in the Stiletto sound but I've heard it all before and better. When the band tries to rock on the lead off 'Public Enemy No.1' there's just no get up and go or power behind the limp riff while the funky girl-power of 'Woman In A Man's World' sounds whiny and as dated as a Bra burning. Perhaps a few Foster's and sausage sizzles might put me in a better mood for the wee-hour fake lounge pop of '2nd Home' but this is clearly another case of cool cover art and little substance.

In Summary
I have yet to figure out the title 'License To Rage' although the temperamental feminist undercurrents in the grooves are hard to miss. These gals and guys might have gone down a storm twenty years later at your local 'Lilith Fair' but in 1978 such sentiments went largely unnoticed. Perhaps better music might have made a difference.

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