Review by Brian McGowan
Here’s an Interesting reissue by the UK’s enterprising BGO Records, digitally re-mastered. Angel’s signing, by Gene Simmons to his fledgling Casablanca label is now a well-documented piece of melodic rock and AOR history. Despite that high profile move, they never really made the breakthrough the music deserved. 1979‘s Sinful was the band’s fifth and last album, a final tilt at fame and fortune. It failed commercially and the band members went their separate ways. Keyboard player Gregg Giuffria went on to form Giuffria and House Of Lords. Even the band admit they weren’t totally invested in Sinful. Success was passing them by and the record label was giving them a hard time. And yet, surprisingly, Sinful is just filled to the brim with great pop songs – proto hair metal, with clearly audible seventies hard rock undertones. Part of the songwriting secret was the fact that Gregg Giuffria, vocalist Frank Demino, guitarist Punky Meadows and drummer, Barry Brandt all contributed, in various combinations. The “feel” of each song differed slightly depending on the writers who created it.
Eddie Leonetti’s production was condemned by fans for being underpowered and over polished, and there’s merit in that argument. Looking back, you might conclude that too often the band’s fragile harmonies and catchy tunes were badly served by the primitive recording techniques of the late seventies, especially on the “pure” AOR tracks like ‘Don’t Take Your Love’ and ‘Waited A Long Time’. They’re trying to soar, but just can’t reach escape velocity.
Elsewhere, sturdier but eminently tuneful tracks like ‘LA Lady’ and ‘Bad Time’ bully their way into your face and your mind. They’re hardly belligerent or bombastic, but the emphatic arrangements -bringing up the guitars and using the keyboards as punctuation – carry these songs over the line with energy to spare. Giuffria’s Beatlish, self-penned, embryonic symphonic rock song ‘Never Fall In Love Again’ is also worth mentioning, as is Britpop salute, ‘You Can’t Buy Love’. But there isn’t a dud here, just a bunch of songs out of place and out of time, sealed into a capsule of cult acclaim.
7 out of 10
- Don’t Take Your Love
- L.A. Lady
- Just Can’t Take It
- You Can’t Buy Love
- Bad Time
- Waited A Long Time
- I’ll Bring The World To Your Door
- I’ll Never Fall In Love Again
- Wild And Hot
- Lovers Live On