Hoodoo Gurus

Blow Your Cool!

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For the Hoodoo Gurus' third album, the group's American record label was hoping the band could come up with something a bit easier to market than the witty, '60s-obsessed pop/rock of Stoneage Romeos and Mars Needs Guitars, so they paired the group up with producer Mark Opitz, who had previously twisted the knobs for AC/DC, INXS, and the Divinyls. Opitz gave the band a smoother, slicker surface and a cracking, radio-friendly drum sound; he also weeded out the band's wackier material (nothing like "Dig It Up" or "Hayride to Hell" this time out) in favor of mega-hooky pop ("Out That Door" and "Good Times," the latter featuring the Bangles on backing vocals) and straight-ahead rock & roll ("Where Nowhere Is" and "Party Machine"). As a result, Blow Your Cool! is the least idiosyncratic album in the Hoodoo Gurus' catalog and doesn't reflect the sneaky wit or goofy charm that won them many of their early fans. But it also makes them sound like the great rock & roll band they always were and leaves little doubt that these guys didn't need to be funny to get over; Dave Faulkner even seems to enjoy having the opportunity to play it straight on the politically slanted "In the Middle of the Land," and the band rarely rocked as hard as they did on the tunes here where they throw the engine into fifth gear. Blow Your Cool! is in some respects a compromised Hoodoo Gurus album, but it's strong enough to prove that these guys could make a worthwhile album even while playing by someone else's rules.

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