Harlow

Harlow

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Slick and commercial, but not without soul and artistic integrity, Harlow made a noteworthy contribution to early-'90s hard rock and arena rock with this underexposed debut album. Their big sound was sort of Heart meets Pat Benatar meets Patty Smyth & Scandal, and the throaty, whiskey-voiced lead singer, Teresa Straley, brings a Smyth-ish quality to melodic, catchy rockers like "Empty" and "Chain Reaction," without actually emulating her. When Harlow turned to social commentary, the results were impressive. "Beyond Control" is a poignant ode to the passengers of Pan Am Flight 103 (which was blown up over Lockerbie Scotland in 1988), while the power ballad "Silence" focuses on a homeless man and others suffering in "silence." And "Cry Murder" laments the violence plaguing the U.S. Calling this material "arena rock" is rather ironic, because Harlow never made it big commercially and didn't have the chance to headline large arenas. But with the right exposure, Harlow could have done exactly that.

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