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Articles Home » 1985 Articles » Innocent, The - 1985 Livin' In The Street
Innocent, The - 1985 Livin' In The Street

ARTIST: Innocent, The
ALBUM: Livin' In The Streets
LABEL: Red Label
SERIAL: 73100-2
YEAR: 1985
CD REISSUE: 2009, Innocent Records


LINEUP: Rodney Psyka - lead vocals, percussion * Alan Greene - guitars * Trent Reznor - keyboards * Albritton McClain - bass * Kevin Valentine - drums, electronic percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 Livin' In The Streets * 02 Freeway Ride * 03 Dora * 04 With You * 05 Heartzone * 06 Top Secret * 07 Love'll Come Knockin' * 08 Back In My Life * 09 Queen Of The Border * 10 The Names Have Been Changed

Seeing as we've already covered the wonderful debut album of Cleveland's finest Breathless in the glory days section, it seems only right and proper that we pay attention to this little beauty. The origins of this band begin a few years after the untimely demise of Breathless when Rodney Psyka formed The Innocent along with former Breathless members guitarist Alan Greene, and drummer Kevin Valentine. They were also joined by bassist Albritton McClain (Donnie Iris and the Cruisers), and keyboard player Gary Lee Jones. Jones was replaced shortly after the recording of the album by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails fame. As you can probably surmise from the above, The Innocent were something of a minor AOR supergroup and they most certainly delivered the goods with considerable panache. I was lucky enough to lay my hands on a copy of the album on it's original release in 1985, and to this day my rather battered vinyl copy rarely strays from the turntable, much to my partner's annoyance! I think it's fair to say that there isn't one bad song on the album, and how often can you say that about a new AOR release these days? Naturally, given the display of talent on array here, the musicianship is first class. Special mention must go to guitarist Alan Greene who is allowed to let rip at almost every available opportunity. To cap it all Rodney Psyka is an incredible vocalist with a classic AOR voice sounding similar to Micky Thomas of Starship.

The Songs
The title cut opens the album, and from the moment your hear Alan Greene's mean and dirty guitar, and Rodney Psyka delivering the line 'I was out disturbing the peace' you know The Innocent mean business! Next track 'Freeway Ride' has a hook mighty enough to fell a charging Rhino in its proverbial tracks. This is followed by 'Dora' which comes across as a grittier Toto then the tempo slows for the wonderful power-ballad 'With You'.. phew! Next song 'Heartzone' lulls you into a false sense of security with it's opening, and then knocks you for six on the chorus with Alan Greene's mighty guitar riff and Kevin Valentine's thunderous drumming on the chorus. By this stage the average AOR listener should be in a state of ecstasy, and we've only just finished side one! Side two opens with the double whammy of the haunting 'Top secret' brimming with atmospheric keyboards and 'Love'll Come Knocking' driven along by yet another mean and dirty guitar riff from Alan Greene. This pair is then followed by 'Back In My Life' where a broken hearted Psyka bemoans the loss of a lover and the album's piece de resistance 'Queen Of The Border'. This has a chorus so infectious you'll be humming it for days afterwards. Last and by no means least, we have 'The Names Have Been Changed' sounding like Starship in their heavier moments.

In Summary
Apparently after this release the band toured extensively, even opening for Bryan Adams of all people. They then went back into the studio to record a second album but unfortunately Red Label went bankrupt and sadly the group without label support, disbanded. Considering the limitations of the budget (reflected in the rather dreary album cover) it's frightening to think what the band might have achieved had they had a major record deal and big budget production. To conclude, I'll sum up this album in two words 'essential purchase'.

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#1 | Eric on December 27 2007 19:48:03
Hard to believe Trent Reznor was in this band and it's only become more expensive in collectors circles because of NIN and that industrial goobely gook BS. I came across hundreds of copies back in the cut-out bin days, including cassettes. Sorry Richard, despite your descriptions being dead on (and very good as always), I never thought this was that fabulous of an AOR album. Fair, but not great. Am I alone here?hmm!
#2 | richardb on December 27 2007 22:17:44
OK Eric I admit it I'm occasionally prone to hyperbole, although my comments are usually made with my tongue firmly planted in the cheek. I suspect some take their AOR a little more seriously.

I wouldn't describe it as a 'classic' by any stretch of the imagination - the production is very bargain basement and they are not in the same league as Breathless.

Though IMHO it's way down the list of over-rated 'AOR classics' (Let's talk Giuffria's debut for starters..). I'd prefer to label it a 'charming period piece'

Richard B

#3 | Eric on December 27 2007 22:33:02
Agree, but for Godsakes, let's not bring up the subject of Giuffria again! lol!lol
#4 | dangerzone on December 28 2007 00:09:12
Why does everyone bash Giuffria's debut? Fot the life of me I don't understand it. It's one AOR album I can never tire of.
#5 | Eric on December 28 2007 02:43:11
Here we go....hilarious
#6 | gdazegod on December 28 2007 04:07:25
Haha.. I sit on the fence and watch.. say cheese!
#7 | dangerzone on December 28 2007 10:29:20
Yeah, I thought I'd have a laugh by starting it up.
#8 | rostoned on June 08 2009 23:21:57
From the above review it seems Reznor joined them AFTER the album was recorded so I understand he is pictured on the sleeve and credited as a band member (I have the LP) but doesn't play a note. correct? Gary Lee Jones is in fact credited as a synthesizer/programming player on the credits.....
#9 | reyno-roxx on June 09 2009 07:52:55
Yup, Trent denies being on this record. In fact, he actually denies being in a lot of these kinds of bands before he formed Nine Inch Nails....Grin
#10 | kim_hp on April 15 2010 01:50:20
For me it's a classic, pure 80's AOR at it's finest and "Queen Of The Border" is indeed a killer song. Trent Reznor should be proud of once being a part of this band Smile
#11 | Vincenzo on October 09 2011 16:19:34
it IS a classic.
#12 | super80boy on May 22 2016 17:43:43
I bought the Japanese pressing CD a long time ago and I see there are a bunch of CD variations/boots out there now. Well, I agree with Richard B, this one is faultless AOR with only a slight ding for the sub-par production job. There's no bad song here, just choice cut after choice cut and given the AOR pedigree in the saddle, it not surprising. Highly Recommended.
#13 | LALOROCK on June 05 2016 22:13:58
Rock Candy please reissue this!
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