Henry Paul Band

Henry Paul

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By 1982, Henry Paul was completely devoid of musical direction, let alone inspiration. After issuing a truly fine album in Anytime a year before, Paul decided on yet another musical change in direction. On his eponymously titled final album for Atlantic before re-forming the Outlaws, Paul took the hard boogie stance of Feel the Heat and married it to pop hooks à la Boston, Loverboy, and Styx, making for a truly disastrous finale. The shrill edges in the vocals seem to be trying to get something out of Bruce Springsteen's mileage as well. But the choruses on "Nightline" are right off of Styx's Grand Illusion and Pieces of Eight albums. Synthesizers careen into incredibly shattering -- yet compressed -- power chords; the guitars and drums are more filtered through effects than they are played. While it seems Paul was doing everything he could to write hooks -- and who knows whether this might not have worked better if stripped down -- Peter Solley's production was so loaded with schlocky keyboard fills that it's impossible to dig the song from its instrumental trappings. Feel the Heat's bar rock sound returns on "Kamikaze Rock," with excellent lyrics: "Kamikaze rockin' and rollin' tonight/Just you and me baby." "Tragedy" has the synthed glockenspiels of Springsteen's Darkness on the Edge of Town, and "Desireé," which could have been a hymn to the porn actress, is so full of clumsy lines and hanging musical phrases that it's embarrassing. Only "Heat of the Night," with its lead vocal by Valerie Carter, is salvaged from total ruin, and it has to do with the emotional authenticity of her performance against Paul's false bravado. "Circle of Silence" has a certain minor-key moodiness that almost rescues it from the bombast, but again, the lyrics are so drenched in cliché it never climbs out. And the album closes with a Loverboy-meets-Boston moment in "Cold War," and an attempt to be seriously political, which makes it even more laughable. It's hard to believe that the yob who made this rock & roll joke could possibly have created Grey Ghost or Anytime. This is an absolute waste of time, money, and energy.

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