The Casablanca Years

Classic Rock - - The Hard Stuff - paul Moody

Seven-CD splurge on glam­rock nearly men With a Spinal Tap-es­que live show in which the band ‘ma­te­ri­alised’ on stage from in­di­vid­ual plex­i­glass boxes, An­gel were mar­keted by their la­bel as

‘the anti-Kiss’, re­splen­dent in white satin jump­suits like five Fred­die Mer­curys.

How­ever, de­spite an avalanche of hype around 1975’s self-ti­tled de­but al­bum, and four sub­se­quent stu­dio al­bums, the world re­fused to pros­trate it­self at their stack-heeled feet. With the ben­e­fit of hind­sight it’s easy to see why. Their de­but and fol­low-up Hel­luva Band, a clunky mix of hard-rock riffage and me­an­der­ing prog ar­range­ments, are the mu­si­cal equiv­a­lent of dry ice – in­trigu­ing, vaguely thrilling yet ul­ti­mately lack­ing sub­stance.

Hav­ing ditched the pomp-rock ex­cesses for a more stripped­down sound on the Ed­die Kramer-pro­duced On Earth As It Is In Heaven, by the time of 1978’s White Hot An­gel had mor­phed into a work­man­like power-pop out­fit. How­ever, their lack of com­mer­cial suc­cess caused des­per­a­tion to creep in for 1979’s Sin­ful, which saw them mod­el­ling a more street-wise im­age and ex­per­i­ment­ing, un­con­vinc­ingly, with disco (20th Cen­tury Foxes).

None of which de­tracts from the fact that the band could al­ways rely on a large and loyal live fol­low­ing (known as the ‘An­gel Earth Force’) who are in full voice on 1980 swan­song Live With­out A Net.

New­com­ers to An­gel should ap­proach with cau­tion, then, but a CD of al­ter­na­tive mixes – in­clud­ing their spir­ited take on the Four Tops’ Walk Away Re­nee – and a lov­ingly com­piled book­let will send An­gel diehards to sev­enth heaven.

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