Mama's Boys

Power and Passion

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Never ones to challenge rock & roll conventions by making up their own rules to begin with, Irish hard rockers Mama's Boys also weren't about to question the "sage" advice of their new label backers at Jive Records, who steered them like cattle toward the hair metal promised land/slaughterhouse throughout the recording of 1985's Power and Passion. Middling hard rockers with boneheaded lyrics all, "Hard 'n' Loud," "Run," "Let's Get High," and the especially contrived "Don't Tell Mama" short-circuited what was left of the band's raw power with flagging electricity verging on insipid AOR at times. The band's signature early hit, "Needle in the Groove," was recycled for what felt like the tenth time, along with, tellingly, the only dud from their otherwise stellar debut album, the sleep-inducing "Straight Forward, No Looking Back." Salvageable moments were restricted to "Lettin' Go," thanks to some nifty fiddle work from guitarist Pat McManus, and, to a lesser degree, his instrumental showcase "The Professor II," but one can nevertheless almost picture producer Chris Tsangarides (Thin Lizzy, Anvil, Tygers of Pan Tang, etc.) dozing placidly in the control room while Jive Records A&R men contracted the synthesizer gremlins to do their nasty business in post-production. The final offense consisted of hiring the requisite scantily clad wench to recline provocatively on the album's cover photo, and that's probably the only reason Power and Passion actually shifted enough units to slip into the Billboard Top 100, before tumbling out again, never to be heard from again.

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