Jane Aire & The Belvederes

Jane Aire & The Belvederes

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Recorded on the back of "Yankee Wheels," one of the most intriguingly scintillating singles of 1978, Jane Aire & the Belvederes' debut album was originally scheduled for release by Stiff, only for the band to defect to Virgin; they lost more than a maverick record label in the process. It would be unfair to call Jane Aire & the Belvederes a disappointment. The opening cover of "Breaking Down the Walls of Heartache" is as infectious as it ought to be, while the darkly quirk-laden "Driving," and the contrarily summertime fun of "Take It to the Next Wave" both recapture the twisted teen-dream Americana that hallmarked "Yankee Wheels." But Liam Sternberg's production seems flatter than it should be, and too much of the LP sounds like a rehearsal for the equally under-whelming second Rachel Sweet album. Sweet is one of several guests here, alongside Kirsty MacColl and the Edge (the post-Damned outfit formed by latter-day members Lu Edmonds and John Moss, as opposed to the Irish guitar picker), and their combined presence is occasionally more powerful than Aire's own. Indeed, so much of Jane Aire & the Belvederes resembles an ensemble work that it is only by returning to its strongest cuts that one remembers why one put it on in the first place. And no, "Yankee Wheels" isn't included.

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