White Lightning

As Midnight Approaches

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The 1980s were a puzzling decade for musicians who'd left a foot firmly planted in the previous decade, and weren't quite sure what to do with the new sonics then racing in. Ex-Iron Pig guitarist Simon Pengilly and bassist Gerald Goff certainly found themselves in that predicament when they formed White Lightning in 1984; should there be rock? Metal? Pop? New wave? Or perhaps a combination of all four? They chose the latter and the resultant As Midnight Approaches is completely of its era -- glossy metal with rough riffs and soaring vocals that are typical of the rise of mid-decade glam metal. From the heavy "Lesson One" to the ballad "London Nightlife," the band served up everything they could lay their hands on. And it works well, too. A more consistent release schedule could have really made a difference. In the event it would be 1990 before they followed it up, as the band juggled its membership (most notably replacing Pengilly with John Storey), and their sophomore set emerges a straight-ahead hard-rocking set, wisely leaving behind the tat of the last decade for the glitter glam of the early-'90s rockers, it too works. Mostly. "Ticking" and "Under My Skin" are solidly excellent, but there are also songs (like "Voodoo") that fall sorely by the wayside. Still, this double reissue of both albums is augmented by a hefty selection of bonus tracks and demos -- a worthwhile purchase for the White Lightning connoisseur.

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