Honeymoon Suite

Racing After Midnight

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Celebrated producer Ted Templeman takes the wheel on Honeymoon Suite's third. Of course, the end result, Racing After Midnight, rules, and of course it doesn't pass the preceding Big Prize, but that stunner only narrowly beats this spinner, a slick street speedster burning on all cylinders. Racing After Midnight isn't as cohesively excellent as Big Prize, but the guitars still sear and soar, Johnnie Dee's husky vocals still wring every bit of emotion out of an impassioned teen dream, and numerous moments shine like halogen headlights on the rain-slicked Sunset Strip. Tearing down the "Other Side of Midnight" is a hot clocker demonstrating how these Canadian Casanovas have adopted the L.A. hair aesthetic, revving silver machines and quoting Kiss (again). Opener "Lookin' Out for Number One" waves the checkered flag ("Tell the boss/he's at a loss") for a hot ride through life beyond the blue collar. "Cold Look" could have come from Lou Gramm's second solo slab Long Hard Look. Frenzied frets from the dependable Derry Grehan fuel the sweating "Love Fever," and the powerful and plaintive "Love Changes Everything" rocks and moans like only the Suite can. "Fast Company" swaggers up to Blue Murder's "Billy" with a modern-day Billy the Kid outlaw saga. The "Lethal Weapon" closer (from the film) simmers slowly, with restrained intensity as the band blazes off into the sunset on a streetcar named desire. Sure, Rob Preuss' (formerly of the Spoons) keyboards flag Racing After Midnight as an '80s release, and as the multi-platinum Canuck exemplar Loverboy quickly fades into the recesses of hard rock history, Honeymoon Suite has disappeared altogether, leaving only a privileged few to celebrate this brief burst of brilliance. Honeymoon Suite is the bees' knees.

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