GIRLSCHOOL — Screaming Blue Murder (review)

GIRLSCHOOL — Screaming Blue Murder album cover Album · 1982 · NWoBHM Buy this album from MMA partners
3/5 ·
Girlschool’s 3rd studio album was a step down from their last album, the quintessential “Hit and Run”, but this still featured some excellent tracks that became part of their live performance for many years. There was a lineup change when bassist Enid Williams was replaced by The Killjoy’s Ghislaine 'Gil' Weston. It didn’t make too much of a difference although I liked Enid’s vocals occasionally.

The album features one of the heaviest Girlschool tracks, the title ‘Screaming Blue Murder’ with shouting chorus and loud riffing guitars. The lyrics are straight forward in your face rebellious rantings; “Action screams like screaming blue murder, Action screams when there's something to say, Action screams when there's no words to tell it, Action screams when you're fading away... Come on let me show you just what we're gonna do, We're all screaming blue murder, screaming blue murder...” You get the picture, don’t you? The band were all about turning the guitars up to a maximum level and just cranking it out having a good time and damn the consequences.

‘Live with Me’ was a Rolling Stones cover and well performed. ‘Take It from Me’ had an infectious chorus and good lead breaks. ‘Flesh & Blood’ had strange verses with a driving drum beat from Denise Dufort, like tribal drums with sensual whispered vocals. It was a throwaway but I kind of got into this very different approach to the music with sparsely arranged guitars and sporadic drumming; giving it a decidedly progressive feel.

The best track on this was also a huge hit for the band, ‘Dont call It Love’ with a memorable chorus and very thoughtful lyrics in the verses, sung with attitude by rhythm guitarist Kim McCauliffe; “You know I seen this all before, And I know what you’re waiting for, But I won't be fooled again, By someone like you, I knew right from the start, That you would break my heart, Don't Call it love, Don't Call it love...” The film clip for theis is a tragedy with the girls skulking behind poles and oiled up muscle men flexing their muscles as the girls drape off them like accessories. It was the 80s! The lead break is melodic and well played by Kelly Johnson. Interestingly she doesn’t sing very much on this as she had done on previous albums and it may have been a sign of her disinterest in continuing with the band with the pressure of touring and appeasing the fan base.

There is a lot of filler material here unlike their previous albums and it is a shame to hear them churning out forgettable rubbish like ‘It Turns Your Head Around’ and ‘When Your Blood Runs Cold’ that reek of filler material.

Overall this is a patchy album with about 4 tracks to recommend it. They are all available on the double CD compilation “The Collection” rendering this album obsolete if you get that and I do recommend it as it is the best material the band produced in one hit. The saving grace of this album is the single, ‘Don't call It Love’ which is memorable and one of the best Girlschool moments. A good album that could have been a triumph but the filler material is unforgiveable. After this things got worse and worse typifying the crystal clean glammy 80s sound and the eventual decline of the band.
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