New England

New England

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Produced by Paul Stanley of Kiss who was also represented by manager Bill Aucoin, this Boston band's debut still stands as their finest. "Hello, Hello, Hello," much like Alice Cooper's use of Rolf Kemp's "Hello Hooray," is a nice opener, but the lyrics are more like Stevie Nicks witchcraft and magic. Song two is the most classic statement made by writer John Fannon and his group New England. "Don't Ever Wanna Lose Ya" is perhaps the shortest poem/song on record by Fannon, but it is his most famous. There are swirling keyboards by Jimmy Waldo and the precision the band is known for in performance. Like another Boston-based group, Private Lightning on A&M with their local hit "Physical Speed," these groups were ahead of their time and exploring sounds that were not identified with the city that brought the world the Modern Lovers, Aerosmith, and the Jonzun Crew. But with three albums on a major label, and superb production, New England had a good shot at the brass ring and a tune with all the elements of "hit" in this track. "P.U.N.K." is also a song that generated attention. About a punk, and certainly not punk rock, although the band frequented (and played) the clubs like the Paradise and the Rat, which, no doubt, helped inspire this. "Shall I Run Away" has a great vocal from Fannon and is the best tune next to "Don't Ever Wanna Lose Ya" -- mellow with cosmic guitars, a unique sound removed from the Asia style producer Mike Stone and the band New England became known for, almost Roxy Music. And that is where the band could've really made its mark, by being more experimental and less like the arena rock bands of the day. "Alone Tonight" is a great song held back by the "overproduction," to quote the late Stones producer Jimmy Miller and his idea of the New England sound. The thick production on this music is incessant. "Nothing to Fear" has hooks a plenty and the voice more prominent; "Shoot" is like a progressive Black Sabbath riff sped up and gone pop. Fannons' great ideas and lyrics seem to get lost in some of the instrumentation of "Turn Out the Light." That stage life which Paul Stanley knows so well from the Kiss hit "Beth" is the theme of "The Last Show." "Encore" concludes the album with Fannon almost sounding like Roger Waters in delivery and idea. New England deserves recognition for years of hard work and the creation of a very important tune from the late '70s. The cover photo has Terminator-style lightning (so did Private Lightning's cover, of course) and the band being delivered from out the blue.

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