Abrasive Wheels

Black Leather Girl

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Recorded at Strawberry Studios, 1984's Black Leather Girl was Leeds Oi! band Abrasive Wheels' second album, and found the band maturing rapidly. Soaring vocal harmonies, saxophones, and smooth arrangements characterize a record that, though it remains unmistakably abrasive, also packs a glossy edge that suggested future recordings might even verge on mainstream rock. Of course that was not to be, and Black Leather Girl stands as the last will and testament of a band that really deserved a longer life. The band's key energies remain intact, of course. The rhythms might not be quite as frenetic as they were across When the Punks Go Marching In, but they pulsate all the same, with the title track an especially incendiary slab of post-Oi! brilliance. The contagiously melodic single "The Prisoner," too, sparkles, while the Wheels' take on "Jailhouse Rock" could incite a riot in a monastery. Five bonus tracks on the Captain Oi! reissue include single mixes of "The Prisoner," "Jailhouse Rock," and "Black Leather Girl," plus the B-side "Sonic Omen" and the stand-alone 45 "Banner of Hope." All add up to the band's most fulfilled release ever.

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