Stacey Q

Hard Machine

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

While the club sound Stacey Q and producer Jon St. James established on 1986's Better than Heaven was insinuating, it showed limitations in the context of a full album. Though commercially not nearly as successful, this sterling follow-up set broadened Q's musical horizons, adding more evident touches of pop and R&B in the production and arrangements. The subtle, midtempo "Don't Make a Fool of Yourself" brings to mind early Madonna with a bit more sophistication; the new-wave-tinged "The River" is an intoxicating melting pot of rock guitars, club beats, lush vocals and poetic lyrics; and the quiet closing number, "Another Chance," builds so smoothly that it seems criminally short. And Stacey Q may not have the best voice around, but she employs several stylistic approaches that lend themselves well to the musical contexts -- whether it be an understated coo on the aforementioned "Another Chance" or a more driven, semi-belting vein on the cheery "After Hours."

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