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Articles Home » 1980 Articles » American Noise - 1980 American Noise
American Noise - 1980 American Noise

ARTIST: American Noise
ALBUM: American Noise
LABEL: Planet
SERIAL: Planet P-8
YEAR: 1980


LINEUP: Craig Balzer - vocals, guitars * Bruce Balzer - guitars, vocals * George Sipl - synthesizers, piano, organ, vocals * Jerry Moran - synthesizers, piano, organ * Greg Holt - bass * Tommy Rich - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Take It All * 02 Runnin' Through The Night * 03 Anyone With A Heart * 04 I Can't Feel Any Pain * 05 Paradise Road * 06 American Noise * 07 Don't Look Back * 08 I Got A Fix On You * 09 Hollywood Boulevard * 10 Surrender To The Night

Archetypal AOR from the early eighties era, for which this band had its roots in the active Cleveland scene of the late 70's. Melodic, poppy, and some reasonable moments contained throughout. There's bits of Cheap Trick, Styx and even the great Airborne, and the whole affair does have a commercial bent to it. I don't know a great about the band, but judging from the album credits, people in high places know them. Pop meastro Kim Fowley helps co-write a few tunes, but the majority are written by lead singer Craig Balzer. Both the Balzer brothers provided backing vocals on one track for the 1973 self titled Circus LP; a band steeped in power pop folklore in Cleveland.

The Songs
The album opener 'Take It All' is a punchy workout, reminding me of bands like Susan or Tears. 'Running Through The Night' is a bit of a closet classic, with some stirring passages through the middle section. 'Anyone With A Heart' (one of the Fowley co-writes) is a lovely piece with a catchy chorus and some nice spiralling keyboards and guitars. 'Paradise Road' is an organ dominated track, heavy on delivery with a short soaring guitar solo standing out. The title track 'American Noise' is a mid-paced piece of melodia followed by the radio friendliness of 'Don't Look Back' and the driving urgency of 'Got A Fix On You'. Lyrical memorabilia appears on the over-extended 'Hollywood Boulevard', while 'Surrender To The Night' winds us down to the finish.

In Summary
Yeah this is a pleasant reminder of what AOR was all about way back then. Probably not very original, and as relevant back then as copy-cat modern pop signings are today. The dual guitar-work of the Balzer brothers playing alongside the dual keyboard pairing of Sipl and Moran is one of the albums highlights. Not the worst album you'll ever hear from the glory days era, and certainly one that is gonna hang around in the collection for a wee while longer.

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#1 | super80boy on January 01 1970 01:00:00
American Noise is a fantastic one off album with first-rate song craft all the way through
#2 | Eric on March 27 2007 22:02:11
Found out recently the Balzer Brothers played in a band called Circus in the early 70's and released one album which has been said to be pretty good pop rock. Never heard or seen it myself though...
#3 | DEMONAOR on July 17 2008 12:22:57
Great album
#4 | Eric on November 25 2008 13:07:45
A little more information on the Balzer Brothers. Some comments on American Noise as well...
#5 | gdazegod on September 13 2011 09:38:10
The Balzers provided backing vocals only - on that 1973 Circus album, according to the liner notes.
#6 | rostoned on March 20 2015 17:43:43
Unfortunately Craig Balzer passed away in 2011 at 61. RIP.

It is interesting to note that American Noise last ever release was an indipendent 'with full color cover with two new songs: 'Another girl like you'/'Statutory Sue' released in 1982 on the Kriminal label. Prior to the LP on Planet they had a track titled 'Out on the street' on a local Ohio compilation by WMMS 101 FM radio station: 'The Pride Of Cleveland' on Buzzard Records and the track remains to this day exclusive to that rare release.

#7 | reyno-roxx on November 20 2016 17:48:32
That Circus album noted above featured Tommy Dobeck on drums. He later joined the Michael Stanley Band. Circus had a minor chart hit with 'Stop, Wait and Listen' in 1973.
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