After Hours

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Velveteen is a duo featuring Sal Maida -- who played bass for Roxy Music, Milk & Cookies, Golden/Carillo, and Cherrie Currie, among others -- and vocalist Lisa Burns, once produced by Craig Leon when he had Willie Alexander & the Boom Boom Band up at Suntreader Studios recording in Vermont. The Boom Boom Band backed up Lisa Burns on a 1978 self-titled MCA records release during those sessions, performing material by Moon Martin, Jackie DeShannon, and the Box Tops. Five years later she changes styles from rock to dance. The black-and-white cover of this six-song Velveteen release on Atlantic entitled Afterhours has Maida with the obligatory sunglasses and Burns looking like a new wave chanteuse. They look smart, they look the part, and had the record sounded like the Velvet Underground meets Roxy Music as the title and image suggest, it may have made more of a splash. "Nightline" is the best song here, strong hook and crystal clear production, it's just that the Linn drums make for monotonous rock & roll and their sound dominates a recording which half rocks. It's good dance music -- material Sal Maida was familiar with having recorded on Gary Private's "Lonely Hearts," but the project may have been better served had Milk & Cookies re-formed to back up Burns the way Willie "Loco" Alexander's band did in the '70s. "Nothing to Do" slinks around in a nice and evil way, but had the wild abandon of a rock group interrupted the precision, the record would beg repeated spins. "Preoccupied" is the closest thing to rock, the Seeds' eternal "Pushin' too Hard" riff convoluted in a world where it -- and these musicians -- didn't really belong: the dance world. "Wild Rain" and "Get Wild" are the alleged obsession with uncontrolled emotion, a promise unfulfilled. If only the 1978 Lisa Burns disc had the production values she and Maida give this release -- much more precise and on target than Craig Leon's sparse underproduction. Lisa Burns has an appealing voice and style, and what she needed was a long-term record deal. Too bad "Nightline" wasn't a Top 40 smash; it's so hard watching important artists climb the mountaintop only to be abandoned at the summit. Lisa Burns falls into that category.

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