Paul Barker took some time for himself between 1988 and 1990 to work apart from his longtime Ministry cohort, Al Jourgensen, in Lead into Gold, a more restrained and reflective unit than his regular gig. Eschewing the heavy metal guitars that would become Ministry's signature sound, Barker here relies more on keyboards, programmed drums, and, for better or worse, his own voice. Chicks & Speed consists of his initial solo efforts: two 12" singles, Faster Than Light and Idiot. "Faster Than Light," the opening track, remains a dancefloor favorite, with its shout-along chorus ("Faster than light and harder!") and anthemic power chords. "Idiot" is the highlight of the record, an industrial disco classic with sampled horn stabs, pounding drums, and relentless keyboards. And while there are a few tracks that probably should not have made it out of the studio (such as "Blackened Heart," brought down by Barker's whiny vocals), the remaining tracks are fairly well executed pieces of downtempo industrial, unlike anything else in the expansive discography of Ministry's side projects. Barker would go on to explore his muse more fully on the full-length Age of Reason.
AllMusic Review by James Mason