Trooper [1980]

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Trooper's second self-titled album became their weakest pre-Hot Shots effort, as the band failed to produce the freewheeling guitar rock sound found on earlier albums, or show any signs of accomplished songwriting. Keyboard player Frank Ludwig left the band, replaced by Robert Deans, but a shakeup in the group's personnel was the least of Trooper's problems at this point. Nearly every song from Trooper sounds silly, quickly written, and musically irritating, and for the first time in their career, they had released an album that didn't contain a Top 40 single in Canada. "Dump That Creep" comes off as sophomore-sounding tripe, while tracks such as "Volunteer Victims" and "If I Never See Your Face Again" are rush jobs that have no way of disguising it. "Real Canadians" is much too transparent to be effective, as the group runs through a list of Canadian cities from coast to coast behind a tired guitar riff in the hopes of retaining whatever Canadian fans they have left. "Laura" is the only cut that holds any interest, with its appeal emanating from some charging guitar and from the only singable chorus amongst the album's tracks. As a matter of fact, this is the album that marked the demise of the band. Hot Shots, a greatest-hits package, was released within the same year of Trooper and quickly became the band's best-selling album. Trooper tried to make a comeback in 1982 with Money Talks, but the results were just as discouraging.

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