The Knack

Get the Knack/...But the Little Girls Understand

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The first two albums by the Knack make a pretty strong two-on-one CD, especially remastered in the requisite Beat Goes On manner -- the guitars and, especially, the bass have a presence that was lacking not only on the original American Capitol CD release, but also somewhat still on the 2002 reissue, and the whole record has a bracing immediacy here to match the best audiophile CD work. Some of the ballads, such as "Maybe Tonight," don't really get that much help, though the muscularity of the playing certainly makes this band seem more impressive than they did in 1979, and as a bridge between "(She's So) Selfish" and "Good Girls Don't" it serves a key purpose, similar to the role of the group rendition of Buddy Holly's "Heartbeat" as a way of following "My Sharona" on the album. A ballad played with a lot of '70s attitude, it does give a fresh take on the song, and was even more enjoyable at the time, appearing as it did in the wake of The Buddy Holly Story and the first serious wave of Holly nostalgia to his the country in nearly 20 years. The second half of the CD, made up of material off of ...But the Little Girls Understand, isn't so bad here; as a debut album it wouldn't have been bad, but following the group's actual debut, on which everything had gone ridiculously right, the songs were something of a letdown. Here they at least sound great, with lots of presence and impact. The notes, by John Tobler, are engaging and informative.

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