Toni Halliday

Hearts and Handshakes

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Hearts and Handshakes, or "Y Kan't Toni Read." Not quite as embarrassing as Tori Amos' similarly named pre-fame album, Toni Halliday's lone solo album from 1989 nonetheless confines itself to dated late-'80s dance-pop trends that translated little past the year of its release. There are contributions from so many various session musicians that the credits read like a high school choir record. It's remarkable how the use of a dozen guitarists (including Eurythmics' Dave Stewart) and an equal amount of recording assistants and engineers could be squelched into cohesion. More interesting to consider is that the crux of Curve appears in one shape or another throughout the record. Former State of Play and future Curve partner Dean Garcia plays bass on one track, while Flood and Alan Moulder punch in with their expert engineering, mixing, producing, and multi-instrumental skills. Halliday, who is in fine, confident voice throughout, hasn't quite found her mark as a songwriter. The lyrics comprise the same romantic frustrations dealt with in Curve, albeit in a less-barbed manner. Pleasant pop arrangements built around dated synths and scorching guitar leads sound ill-suited for Halliday's vocals, even without considering Curve's dark, layered sound. Halliday and Garcia would pair for a massive quantum leap only two years later; little more than a curiosity, this will only do well for you if second-rate Eurythmics doesn't sound like a bad thing.

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