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Silk & Steel
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  • Released back when there was always two sides to every audio story (i.e., side one and side two), Giuffria's second offering houses an interesting concept: polarizing the huffy from the heavy. This is hardly a revolutionary idea, as such was the common format of most AOR at the time, and perhaps for the sake of balance some silk slips into the steel and vice versa, so the record ultimately ends up heavy on the light. The titular titan's bombastic keyboards float like angel feathers amongst David Glen Eisley's lung-busting vocals (Eisley even scats with axeman Lanny Cordola right out of the gate on "No Escape"). The saccharine sweetness of "Love You Forever" and "Girl" isn't sticky enough and makes your teeth hurt, but brief radio-ringer "I Must Be Dreaming" reveals a lovely, plaintive reverie, forerunner to White Lion's wimpy winner "Little Fighter" and arguably even better than the debut's "Call to the Heart" (Giuffria's shining moment on the charts). Silk closer "Change of Heart" mentions "Heart on the Line," a Rick Nielsen number the band covered as House of Lords on Sahara. Obviously these poodle poppers want the airwaves, as demonstrated on the radical "Radio" and through the production gloss of Pat Glasser, the secret of Night Ranger's success. The best steel moment, "Lethal Lover," naturally rules and quotes Journey's "Edge of the Blade" and "Hocus Pocus" by Focus. The slippery-when-wet "Dirty Little Secret" isn't as raunchy as Y&T should be, but boasts some fine playing. Giuffria's whooping keys retain their grandiose uniqueness, and the electric drums are antiquated but not annoying, ditto the blazing fretwork (a dependable hair staple) from Cordola. Honestly, though, except for one jewel on each side, these dudes can't touch Steve Perry and company. The European reissue includes a bonus, "Say It ain't True." Sinister genius Gene Simmons forced the band to change their name and vocalist to become House of Lords. ~ Doug Stone
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