Theme Switcher
Switch to:


Join us over at the Facebook replacement Join up and become part of 2018's great migration off of Facebook.


Forgotten your password?
Request a new one here.
Site Stats
Album Reviews: 6679
Comments: 16714
Ratings: 4967
Forum Posts: 22735
Articles Hierarchy
Articles Home » 1979 Articles » Bliss Band - 1979 Neon Smiles
Bliss Band - 1979 Neon Smiles

ARTIST: Bliss Band
ALBUM: Neon Smiles
LABEL: Columbia
SERIAL: JC 36070
YEAR: 1979


LINEUP: Paul Bliss - vocals, keyboards * Andy Brown - bass, vocals * Phil Palmer - guitar, vocals * Alan Park - keyboards * Nigel Elliot - drums, percussion

Assisted By: Geoff Westley - keyboards, flute * Frank Ricotti - percussion * Raphael Ravesncroft - saxophones

TRACK LISTING: 01 Stagefright * 02 How Do I Survive? * 03 Hollywood * 04 Someone Elses Eyes * 05 Doctor * 06 Chicago * 07 We Never Had It So Good * 08 If It Takes Forever * 09 Something About You * 10 That's The Way That It Is

'Dinner With Raoul' was a decent enough debut, although because producer Jeff Baxter's (Steely Dan) influence permeated throughout, the band were guilty of being derivative rather than forging their own unique identity. Consequently, only a couple of tracks made any lasting impression on me, those being 'Slipaway' and the energetic hard rocking of 'Take It If You Need It'. There's no such problems second time around with the superior 'Neon Smiles' as all previous accusations of 'Steely Dan clones' are laid to waste. The first thing that strikes you about this album is it variation - something that was lacking in the debut. The emphasis is firmly on songs and this excellent band of musicians successfully traverse a range of musical styles.

The Songs
The band lead off with 'Stagefright' whose lyrics convey the insecurities suffered by many touring bands on their road to stardom - for example 'You've had all the run-throughs that you're gonna get. But can we ever hope the play the perfect set?' The song gradually gathers momentum with a soaring chorus, powerful guitar work from Phil Palmer and the band kicking up a storm on the fade out - glorious stuff. 'How Do I Survive?' is musically strident with delicious harmonies, though there's yet more angst in the lyric department - unfortunately creative types do tend to be a neurotic bunch.. 'Hollywood' as the title suggests is a side swipe at the movie industry and is highlighted by Phil Palmer's soaring guitar solo. Proceedings are then slowed down by the mellow and plaintive ballad 'Someone Else's Eyes'. The tempo is raised again for 'Doctor' whose pompous keyboards on the intro, suddenly take a left-field turn into what can only be described as a piano driven boogie tune. Potentially this could have sounded horrendous in lesser hands, but Paul Bliss manages to carry it off as an enjoyable light hearted romp. 'Chicago' is a laid back West Coast influenced number, which harks back to the debut and wouldn't have sounded out of place on a Doobie Brothers album. For me, 'We've Never Had It So Good' walks away with all the plaudits. It's a boisterous hard rock number with decidedly tongue in cheek lyrics that are guaranteed to offend reputable Accountants everywhere with its mention of cash in hand payments and tax havens. There's a brief musical interlude with the tasteful instrumental 'If It Takes Forever' and then it's the dramatic AOR of 'Something About You'. Paul Bliss's emotive vocal delivery being the icing on the proverbial cake. The album finishes strongly with 'That's The Way That It Is'. Whilst it's primarily driven by Paul Bliss's piano and Andy Brown's pumping bass guitar, there's no denying the latent power of this song and its haunting chorus - it was covered by Uriah Heep several years later on their 'Abominog' album.

In Summary
Despite falling on deaf ears from the record buying public at large when it was originally released, 'Neon Smiles' has subsequently garnished a deserved reputation as a minor classic amongst AOR aficionados. Furthermore, Paul Bliss's obvious talents as a songwriter have at least been recognised by his musical peers - a number of well-known artists such as Olivia Newton John, Janet Jackson, Al Jarreau and Celion Dion have covered his songs over the years.

All written content on this website is copyrighted.
Copying of material without permission is not permitted.

#1 | super80boy on January 01 2015 22:44:45
The superior of the two albums since it ventured away from the Steely Dan and Doobie Brothers influences…for the most part and embraced more creativity in the AOR spectrum. Strong musicianship and smooth AOR melodies, like in the West Coast vibes of 'Chicago', the pompy standout 'We Never Had It So Good and the Toto sounding 'Something About You'. The fast paced 'Doctor' was tapped as an album single by Columbia. The closer 'That's The Way That It Is' is a gem. There's much to like on this platter.
Post Comment
Please Login to Post a Comment.
Rating is available to Members only.

Please login or register to vote.

100% 100% 0% [No Votes]
95% 95% 0% [No Votes]
90% 90% 0% [No Votes]
85% 85% 0% [No Votes]
80% 80% 100% [1 Vote]
75% 75% 0% [No Votes]
70% 70% 0% [No Votes]
65% 65% 0% [No Votes]
60% 60% 0% [No Votes]
55% 55% 0% [No Votes]
50% 50% 0% [No Votes]
45% 45% 0% [No Votes]
40% 40% 0% [No Votes]
35% 35% 0% [No Votes]
30% 30% 0% [No Votes]
25% 25% 0% [No Votes]
20% 20% 0% [No Votes]
15% 15% 0% [No Votes]
10% 10% 0% [No Votes]
Articles Cloud
Broken Valves - 2009 Lady [ep], Sixx:AM - 2007 The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack, Wolfer, Bill - 1982 Wolf, Goudreau, Barry - 1980 Barry Goudreau, Honeymoon Suite - 2001 Interview with Derry Grehan, Demon - 1982 The Unexpected Guest, Raspberries, The - 2007 Live On Sunset Strip, Section A - 2006 Parallel Lives, Demon - 1982 The Unexpected Guest, Santana - 1981 Zebop!, Defiants, The - 2016 The Defiants, White Wizzard - 2013 The Devil's Cut, Fixx, The - 1986 Walkabout, Airless - 2002 Airless, Burns Sisters - 1989 Endangered Species
Frontrunner Bob Halligan Jnr Halestorm Flag Arthur Offen Airraid Kansas Pinnacle Point Ambition Dark Sky Harlow Big Street Broke N Blue Michael Hayes Badstreet Band Fred Knoblock Unruly Child Jeff Paris Casanova (Germany) Wounded Bird Southern Pacific Marty Butler Mi-Sex Terra Nova Hawks Paul Janz Grim Reaper Toja Silent Rage Delta Anthrax USA Larry Baud Axe Wounded Bird Malice Rock Candy Records Wounded Bird
All Tags