She Got the Look

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Gary Barden's first attempt at leading his own band following a traumatizing stint with guitarist "Mad" Michael Schenker's group, Statetrooper may as well have been dubbed "Wildfire, Pt. 2," because four former members of that band rounded out its lineup. This familiarity going in may actually explain why it took mere months for such a brand-new act to write and record this three-song debut EP for Neat Records -- although any sense of wonder is likely to vanish after listening to the uninventive AOR dross permeating its contents. Poppy and predictable, "She Got the Look" and "Veni, Vidi, Vinci" are both unbearably glossy, mindless, synthesizer-drenched creations, with final cut "Set Fire to the Night" proving only marginally superior thanks to toughened-up guitars showing actual bite. Of course, this kind of music was very popular during the mid-'80s, so one can hardly blame Statetrooper for trying to capitalize on it themselves. Still, it's oddly ironic that the missing magical spark that could have made something special of the above was a stronger vocal presence from Barden, who, it must be said, possessed what contemporary Joe Lynn Turner once described as "that average hard rock/heavy metal vocal style" -- suitable enough to get by but never so powerful that it might overshadow the guitar hero boss man.

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