Smash Palace

Smash Palace

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Having the misfortune of following in the footsteps of Nervous Night, the breakthrough album by Philadelphia's favorite '80s sons, the Hooters, Smash Palace managed to land a deal with Epic nonetheless and scored short-lived MTV rotation in late 1985, thanks to the catchy, pulsing, keyboard-touched anthem "Living on the Borderline." But this eponymous debut album is no mere single-plus-filler con game that was all the rage at the time. Simply put, Smash Palace is a top-notch example of what American modern rock -- replete with glossy production and hairspray -- could be during this era. "Love Will Find a Way" has a great bass line and vocalist Brian Butler's Robert Hazard-meets-Richard Butler vocal delivery is spot on, but the songcraft doesn't ever buckle during this ten-song cycle. The softer, mid-tempo rocker "Never Say No Again" is a stellar nugget, while the confessional thump of "Juliet to Me" and the shot-out-of-cannon anthem "Count the Days," arguably the best song they ever did, all deserved greater attention than they got.

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