The Arrows

First Hit

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The Arrows had already shot their bolt by the time their debut album was released, a string of increasingly under-performing 45s prefacing the appearance of both the LP and, odd though it now seems, an eponymous 14-part British TV series that allowed them some prime-time plugging every week for three months. The fact that neither could offer the band even a remote commercial lifeline simply re-emphasizes that fact. They were already yesterday's news, and they'd only just begun. Then again, one really had to question the wisdom of a pop band releasing an LP without a single familiar pop song in sight. Not one of their hits (or even misses) was featured; rather, the Arrows offered a reinvention aimed firmly at the same AOR territory as RAK labelmates Smokey were carving out for themselves -- the title track even boasts a sound-alike husky vocal. The difference was, Smokey still had Chinn & Chapman writing their songs. Alan Merrill, Jake Hooker, and Paul Varley, sadly, simply couldn't aspire to the same magic. It's not a wholly lost cause. "What Comes Between Us" is a nice slower burner, with some tasteful guitar, an anthemic chorus, and a smart steal from "I've Been Loving You Too Long" over the fade, while both "Thanks" and "Don't Worry 'Bout Love" have a hint of Bad Company around the edges. The opening "Once Upon a Time," meanwhile, was one of several tracks that were surely modeled after the kind of grand ballad that the recently re-formed Walker Brothers might have considered. For the most part, however, First Hit wanders by in a sea of well-intentioned, well-arranged -- but, ultimately, well-so-what -- balladry, barely a moment of which is worth mentioning in the same breath as the glories that had passed before it. After all, this is the group who so insisted they loved rock & roll that they wrote a national anthem about it. Could they really have forgotten quite so quickly?

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