The Romantics

In Heat

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    7
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After the creative and commercial misfire of their third album, Strictly Personal, Detroit's the Romantics took a step in the right direction with their next effort, 1983's In Heat. While the hard rock production of Strictly Personal was pure overkill, In Heat was the band's leanest effort to date, and though producer Pete Solly doesn't reprise the neo-Shel Talmy sound he brought to their debut, he puts the focus here on the group's strengths -- straightforward pop/rock tunes with a big beat, big hooks, sharp harmonies and plenty of energy. It also helped that Mike Skill returned to the band for this LP as bassist, bringing a knack for a good tune with him, and Coz Canler learned to rein in his guitar style, giving the performances on this disc a tighter and more compact sound that fits the material just right. The band nodded to their musical roots with a pair of pair of appropriate covers, "Open Up Your Door" (a big hit in Michigan in its original version from Richard & the Young Lions and "Shake a Tail Feather" (a rocked-up version of Andre Williams' R&B perennial), and while the album's two big hits, "Talking in Your Sleep" and "One in a Million," are a far cry from "What I Like About You," they're clever and memorably hooky, and after Strictly Personal they were a breath of fresh air. In Heat was the Romantics' most commercially successful album, and while it certainly isn't their best, it's an entertaining showcase of what these guys did well.

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