Hi-Fi Sci-Fi

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Hi-Fi Sci-Fi proved to be the swan song for New Jersey's Dramarama, but the band goes down blazing with an excellent effort. Produced by bassist Chris Carter and lead vocalist John Easdale, the band brings the well-traveled Clem Burke into the fold on drums, and he provides this album with more muscle than their prior release, Vinyl. The raucous, pile-driving intro title "Introduction/Hey Betty" leads into the almost radio hit "Work for Food." With Dwight Twilley lending a hand on backup vocals, "Work for Food" is a driving and delightfully hooky tale of resilience from the point of view of a homeless person -- the twist being that the protagonist is revealed to be a failed musician. Other standouts on this consistently engaging album are numerous. Benmont Tench appears again playing piano on the lovely ballad "Senseless Fun," which also benefits from Martin Tillman's cello, and "Right on Baby, Baby," is another ballad with intelligent, poignant lyrics, Pete Wood's slide guitar, and Nicky Hopkins' added piano. On the rocking side, "Don't Feel Like Doing Drugs" is an amusing take on the aftermath of such endeavors. Hi-Fi Sci-Fi is, perhaps, the finest moment for an underappreciated band.

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