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Electric Angels - 1990 Electric Angels

ARTIST: Electric Angels
ALBUM: Electric Angels
LABEL: Atlantic
SERIAL: 82064-2
YEAR: 1990
CD REISSUE: 2011, Rock Candy Records (UK), CANDY114
SPONSOR: Rock Candy Records


LINEUP: Shane - vocals * Ryan Roxie - guitars * Jonathan Daniel - bass * John Schubert - drums

Additional Musicians: Mark Taylor - piano, organ * Morgan Visconti - additional guitar * Astarte Ochrestra of London - string arrangements

TRACK LISTING: 01 I Believe * 02 Live In The City * 03 Rattlesnake Kisses * 04 Head Above Water * 05 Dangerous Drug * 06 True Love And Other Fairy Tales * 07 Last Girl On Earth * 08 Home Sweet Homicide * 09 Cars Crash * 10 All The Money * 11 Whiplash * 12 The Drinking Song

The excellently named Electric Angels rose from the ashes of L.A pop/glam rockers Candy. The Sugar-sweet pop rock that Candy produced was a far cry from the edgy and urban rock that the Angels would deliver, it's hard to believe the same personnel were involved. Jonathan Daniel and John Schubert were part of the early Candy days from 1981, and they would admit that the band were presented with more lost opportunities than any that were gained. Signed to Polygram in 1984, it would take a year before the record 'Whatever Happened To Fun?' would be released in mid 1985, to an indifferent audience. Recorded in Miami, Candy returned to a changed landscape in Los Angeles, the scene completely changed in the time they were away. Glam/hair metal had taken over and Candy were yesterday's news. The band eventually fractured into two pieces: Kill For Thrills created by Gilby Clarke, and Electric Angels started by Daniel, Schubert and Ryan Roxie, the latter joining Candy after original singer Kyle Vincent left at the end of 1985. Enigmatic singer Shane, joined the band in 1987 to complete the picture. Though Electric Angels caused a stir in L.A, none of the labels were interested, preferring instead to find the next Poison. Frustrated, the Angels moved to New York, and were signed by Atlantic within a month of arriving. Helping their cause for a deal was a bunch of demos produced by KISS guitarist Bruce Kulick. Talk about a fickle record industry! Eventually the band would travel to London and record the debut album with Tony Visconti, best known for his work with David Bowie and Thin Lizzy.

The Songs
Released in February 1990, the reviews of the time compared this band to Hanoi Rocks, but there's a wealth of influences that stem from the band member's own preferences. It may have an element of glam, but it's an earthy street trodden variety, not the fluff laden image that bands such as Poison, Jetboy and their ilk would dish up. The album gets underway with the short intro of 'I Believe' which segues into 'Live In The City', a nifty little rocker with an infectious riff and easy-on-the-brain chorus. Keeping up appearances is the excellent 'Rattlesnake Kisses', and it's easy to see that the songwriting capabilities of Jonathan Daniel is a key ingredient to this band. 'Head Above Water' is and ode to all those struggling to survive in the normal day to day routine, while 'Dangerous Drug' looks at the issue of love as an addiction and dependency. Some good lyrics here. 'True Love And Other Fairy Tales' is perhaps the band's symphonic moment (if you can call it that), but it is lush and orchestral mostly, and at 5 minutes, this is Electric Angels at their most grandiose. Getting back into the groove for the fiery 'Last Girl On Earth', it's a tale of rejection and departure, whereas 'Home Sweet Homocide' tips the white-picket fence and 4x2 dream on it's head as life in the 'burbs is not all that it seems. The semi-ballad 'Cars Crash' sees the band keeping it restrained, a very cool song, which suits the timeframe it was released in. 'All The Money' takes a stab at a 70's styled sound, along with a foot-stomping back-beat. 'Whiplash' is a jangly electric number, initially some ballad moments precede the song before opening up in energetic fashion. The chorus too is a gang-chant special.. 'when she walks by all the boys got Whiplash..'. The Angels sign off with the rabble-rouser 'The Drinking Song', where a bunch of additional voices were added to the mix, giving this a real sing-a-long vibe. A fun way to the finish the album.

In Summary
Upon completion of the record and eventual release, the Angels prepared to gig hard on the U.S East Coast during 1990, to mixed results. They tagged along with the likes of Danger Danger, Hurricane and The Quireboys on various jaunts, but the lack of cohesive label support and combative personalities within the band, combined to bring about their eventual downfall. Disagreements between the band, their management and their label led to them being dropped by Atlantic. It's a pity really, as the band had demos prepared for a seond album release which was to be called 'New York Times'. I believe there are some old fileshares of those demos out there on the Net. Ryan Roxie would leave the band in 1992, the remaining trio would reform as The Loveless, and release the acclaimed independent CD 'A Tale Of Gin And Salvation'. Now reissued by Rock Candy Records, this album is well worth the expense and effort as a reissue, as a lot of the songs have an indelible charm about them, and it's great to hear them in the context of the pre-grunge movement. Fitting too that Dave Reynolds, who reviewed this band for Kerrang back in 1990 also gets the opportunity to provide the liner notes for the reissue. A cycle now complete.

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