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Autograph - 1984 Sign In Please



ARTIST: Autograph
ALBUM: Sign In Please
LABEL: RCA
SERIAL: RC 250
YEAR: 1984
CD REISSUE: 2008, Rock Candy Records (UK), CANDY043

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Steve Plunkett - vocals, guitars * Steve Lynch - lead guitar * Randy Rand - bass * Steven Isham - keyboards * Kenni Richards - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Send Her To Me * 02 Turn Up The Radio * 03 Nineteen And Non-Stop * 04 Cloud 10 * 05 Deep End * 06 My Girlfriend's Boyfriend Isn't Me * 07 Thrill Of Love * 08 Friday * 09 In The Night * 10 All I'm Gonna Take


Background
An accomplished lot were Autograph, boasting members with previous associations in bands like Silver Condor, The Coup and Masters Of The Airwaves. Surely an automatic guarantee of quality from the start. Plunkett was the man in Silver Condor and bought with him a superb voice. Autograph could be viewed as a typical 80's rock band, but were blessed with the nuance of being able to mix up hard rock aggression with AOR sensibilities. This subtle piece of genius saw them score a massive top twenty hit with 'Turn Up The Radio', still a classic rock station staple to this day. It guided 'Sign In Please' into the top thirty of the Billboard album charts and appeared to be the start of a successful career.


The Songs
Autograph were practitioners of big keyboard use and huge choruses and you get it from the beginning on 'Send Her To Me', a quality AOR contender. 'Turn Up The Radio' is the type of rock anthem you never hear anymore, massive 'let's all sing along!' chorus and class lyrics like 'daytime, night time, things go better with rock'. A thriller! 'Nineteen And Non Stop' ups the hard rock quotient, riding a rude bass riff mixed with overpowering synths. Not too thrilled with the chorus though. It fails to live up to the promise of the buildup. Same goes for 'Cloud 10'. The melody is flat and strangely contrived. It sounds like Autograph were trying too hard to complete a classic rock recording. 'Deep End' is better, only because the guitar work is heavier. Aggravatingly 'My Girlfriends Boyfriend Isn't Me' is another unsatisfying cut. Again, weak chorus etc.. It doesn't grab me and leaves me feeling cold. 'Friday' is your average weekend party ode, nothing special and not a patch on Loverboy's 'Friday Night'. Elsewhere, 'In The Night' and 'All I'm Gonna Take' rescue this from becoming a shambles. Both shine melodically and there are some choice licks coming out of Lynch's guitar. The anti-establishment lyrics of 'All I'm Gonna Take' are inspiring as well. This tale of life gone sour is very dramatic and the best thing on the album. The music suits the mood - desperate, and is a departure from anything else found on the disc.


In Summary
Following the success of 'Sign In Please' Autograph never recovered. 85's 'That's The Stuff' was a letdown, containing only a single worthy track, 'Six String Fever.' The problem once again lay with the poor choruses. Autograph saved the best for last with 87's 'Loud And Clear', a superior AOR effort that went unnoticed, as did the band when they split. A shame as they finally got it right. Still every time I listen to 'Sign In Please' I always feel cheated or robbed. Unsatisfied even. Some good moments, but ultimately too forced.


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Comments
#1 | Eric on March 29 2008 15:43:20
Points taken Alun, but I found this record to be a lot of fun, almost but not quite coming close to power pop (with a hair band sheen) on some cuts.
#2 | Jez on June 13 2008 09:42:06
Another all time greatest and one that has been played virtually weekly over the past 20 years (God i'm getting old & the wife is getting fed up of it!)-It still gets the heart pumping everytime I listen to it. The whole album still sounds fantastic 20 years on. 'Turn Up The Radio', 'Cloud 10', 'Send Her To Me' classix one and all. The band never scaled these heady heights again, 'Thats The Stuff' paled in comparison, although they picked it up again for the excellent 'Loud & Clear'. ESSENTIAL
#3 | jeffrey343 on March 05 2010 17:08:29
This is one I've always really liked. Some of the lyrics are definitely cringe-worthy, but overall this is pretty darn good stuff. I've always loved 'Thrill Of Love' and 'All I'm Gonna Take' in particular.
#4 | sabace on August 02 2012 13:58:20
love this lp - excellent review
#5 | super80boy on September 14 2014 19:06:23
Despite a couple of mediocre over the top/over charged hard rockers (highlighted in the above review), there are some solid cuts here, 'Send Her To Me', 'Cloud 10', 'Thrill Of Love' and 'In The Night'.
#6 | gdazegod on July 10 2015 14:04:02
Autograph - 1984 Turn Up The Radio
[movie=youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8CcTYsMHYU[/movie]
 
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