The Arrows

Tawny Tracks

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The Arrows might be more known for the slick First Hit, their only proper album, but the polished approach and rock-oriented attitude didn't sit well with fans of singer/guitarist Alan Merrill's work with seminal glam outfit Vodka Collins. So the release of Tawny Tracks, a collection of demos and alternate takes taken from many different points of their career, is a pleasant surprise for anyone who followed his pre-Arrows work. From the exotic strut of the slow-burning "Baby Doll" to the swaggering bounce of "International Gypsy Lovers," there are more hooks and grit found here than on any other album released by the group. The band throws in Afro-Cuban tempos, sleazy blues licks, hipper-than-thou vocals, and even reggae guitar in a curious blend that manages to avoid the dated feel of most hard rock from this era. The version of "I Love Rock N' Roll" here is a gutsy, muscular take that utilizes a smooth pop/rock approach instead of Joan Jett's punk-influenced run-through. The extra tracks aren't anything too special, with the exception of "Come on, Come on, Baby," a poppy mid-tempo rocker. But more than anything else, the music here is probably the best example of the Arrows available and comes highly recommended to anyone who wants to check out Merrill's transition from flamboyant glam frontman to laid-back blues rocker.

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