Sheer Glee - sweet.
11 songs of pure sleaze, directly influenced by both old and contemporary hard rock and heavy metal acts, infused with glam, but dirtier, harder and stripped down to the bare essentials without compromising the music.
From the outset, the single "Hollywood Tease" defiantly embraces the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, with a rich seam of Iron Maiden (as they were at the time) showing in the painstaking attention to detail in the fills and attitude, simultaneously recalling The Sweet in the form of hard, chugging riffs, mean, dirty vocals with catchy melodies and rich harmonies.
The Led Zeppelin styled breakdown is awesome too, with a stunning burst of shredding in the solo, and a great strip-down for what is possibly the bridge.
The main problem with Girl at the time was, as Annie Nightingale more succinctly put it, here is a hard rock / metal act comprising 5 guys in make up and a get up that looks like they raided their sister's wardrobes. The hair is a bit over-styled too.
Today this sort of thing barely raises an eyebrow, but in those post Punk and pre New-Romantic times, this was seen as overly pretentious, risque and, if you were an un-PC "true" metal fan, downright poofy.
That didn't stop Girl from raising quite an audience, and if you pay attention to the music, it's really not hard to hear why - despite yourself at times.
Because Hollywood Tease is, of course, just the beginning of the Sheer Greed album, and Girl romp through the 11 self-penned tunes, which include no less than 3 strong singles, with Sheer Glee.
"Things You Say" carries a kind of post punk, new wave, stuttering reggae vibe, and serves as a stark contrast to the heavy metal extravaganza until the breathtaking shreddery in the guitar solo - no short phrases here, this is one heck of a burst. The song wraps up with a jam-out with all manner of wooey noises and tremolo abuse.
"Lovely Lorraine" follows, a stomper that suffers in places from being a little bland, but picks up a bit with some Ramones and Cars inspiration. The guitar solo flounders a bit, but this is probably one of those that worked better live.
"Strawberries" is a real curve ball - the metal edge is all but lost, in favour of a New Wave edge a little reiniscent of David Sylvian's Japan, with a large helping of Andy Partridge's XTc mixed in for good measure. The guitar solo is suitably restrained and melodic - absolutely beautiful in places. This segues straight into Little Miss Ann, a far harder rocker straight out of The Sweet's school of how to write great songs, but with strong Aerosmith influences and a belting pair of Angus inspired solos.
"Doctor Doctor" sounds like it might have come from the later Hair metal bands, Motley Crue et al - let down a little by weedy drumming, and this theme continues with the somewhat bland "Do you Love Me". There is some sumptuous twin lead guitar playing in the latter, which doesn't develop like you'd want it to, and a beautiful chugging tone to the rhythm guitar, but that's about all you can say about it.
"Take Me Dancing" is another one that kinda drifts past a bit like a Bon Jovi filler track, while "What's up" is much more of a heads down rocker, with some intriguing clashing harmonies and thumping, running bass designed to get you up and into your funky shoes. The bridge is especially notable, a really surprising light jazz flavoured interlude followed by a funky, clean melodic solo.
There's a real surprise next, a kind of dub reggae flavoured piece, interspersed with light jazz - a bit Police inspired maybe, but with Pink Floyd overtones. A little messy in places, but some great grooving going on here, and an intriguing blend of ideas - especially when it comes to the Flamenco guitar solo.
The final single "My Number" follows, with more Cars inspiration, from the chunky, clunking bass line to the chugging guitars and off kilter harmony changes topped with simple, angular guitar lines. Extremely infectious - should carry a Government health warning.
To round the album off is "Heartbreak America", another song that reminds me of The Sweet on one of their experimental tips. Some magnificent melodic soloing in here, which I really like, given that the guitarist has proven himself a more than competent shredder on other tracks, but hasn't got carried away and let rip all over everything.
In summary, a patchy album, with rather too much bland, forgettable mush, but where it's strong, it's very, very strong, with some more than competent performances showcasing musicianship far beyond that of most of their NWoBHM peers, Iron Maiden included. In between the mush and the dazzling showmanship, there's also some very capable cutting edge songcrafting going on, and an applaudably bold approach to bringing diverse genres into the mix, giving the impression that this band was one with a huge amount of potential - but not entirely within the metal domain.