With all of the Payola$' albums out of print, Between a Rock & a Hyde Place serves as the only recorded music available from this poignant Canadian band. Capturing nearly all of the Payola$' crucial material (with exception of "I'm Sorry"), this compilation covers all angles of the band, from their gutsy, punk-laden beginnings that sparked minor hits like "China Boys" and "In a Place Like This" to more commercial-sounding and marketable material, such as the haunting "Eyes of a Stranger" and "Never Said I Loved You," a collaboration with Rough Trade's Carole Pope. The songwriting skills of both Paul Hyde and Bob Rock have produced bold, pronounced styles of '80s rock and pop, with effective fragments of other musical influences added for color and contrast, witnessed in tracks like the beat-tramping flow of "Soldier" or in the hard-hitting message of "Where Is This Love." Songs such as "Stuck in the Rain" and "You're the Only Love," taken from their last album, 1985's Here's the World for Ya, sound like more than just complacent ballads, sharpened by Hyde's potent, robust voice. Between a Rock & a Hyde Place expertly sums up the Payola$' career, recounting the most memorable tracks from their four studio albums.
AllMusic Review by Mike DeGagne