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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

DB Cooper - Dangerous Curves

Name: DB Cooper
Album: Dangerous Curves
Year: 1981
Style: New Wave Rock, Power Pop
Similar Bands: The A's, Journey, Cars, Planets
"One-Word" Review: Not-so-powerful-power-pop
Based Out Of: Santa Barbara, CA
Label: Warner Bros. Records, Warner
Dangerous Curves - Cover & Lyrics
Dangerous Curves - Back & Sleeve
Dangerous Curves - Record

Dangerous Curves (1981)
  1. Breakin' Out 2:21
  2. Bad Guy's Winnin' 2:51
  3. Dangerous Curves 4:03
  4. When This Day Is Over 1:50
  5. Tonight 3:18 /
  6. Small Town Talking 3:55
  7. Modeling School 3:13
  8. Bad Seed 3:23
  9. I've Gotta Gun 2:55
  10. For Whom the Bell Tolls 3:00
Album Rating (1-10): 7.0

Members & Other Bands:
Thomas Earnest Gamache - Producer, Mixing
Adrienne Miller - Vox (Blue Collar Choir)
Tony Riparetti - Vox (Blue Collar Choir)
Jim Saad - Vox (Blue Collar Choir)
Sue Sadd- Vox (Blue Collar Choir)
Robby Scharf - Bass (Cowsills, Longfellows, Pranks)
Michael Towers - Guitar, Vox, Producer, Mixing
Jon Chapman - Drums
DB Cooper - Vox
Steve Forman - Percussion
Bo Fox - Vox (Blue Collar Choir)
Roger Heath - Guitar (Blue Collar Choir)
Bob Irving - Keys
Randell Kirsh - Vox (Blue Collar Choir)
Richard Seireeni - Art Direction
Gary Panter - Cover Art
Richard Litt - Sleeve Photography
Michael Stone - Recording, Mixing
Van Webster - Additional Engineer
Karat Faye - Additional Engineer
Don Levy - Additional Engineer
Jim Bauerlein - Asst Engineer
Cristy Robertson - Asst Enginner
Cary Pritikin - Asst Engineer
Paul Broucek - Asst Engineer
Phil Jamtaas - Asst Angineer
Fred Ansis - Wry Equalization
Pat Demott - Vox Arrangement

I had never heard of these guys, nor the “famous” hijacker that they took their name from. I picked up the album in a dollar bin thanks to the pastel art work on the front. The collage on the back is striking, but not the reason I picked it up. I would have loved the inner sleeve if I had got the album when I was like 10 years old, as there are some “classy” pictures pinned up in what looks to be a garage. But luckily the place I bought this from has a turntable for sampling their product and from three needle drops, I liked what I briefly heard, and picked this up to review. Plus the year was perfect for the musical genre I like.

Album Review: “Breakin' Out” starts out with a keyboard and Journey-like guitar. The vocals are theatrically anxious. There is a youthful jitteriness that makes much of this power new wave rock stuff great, The A’s had more of it, but this is still not bad. “Bad Guy's Winnin'” continues with the same formula, but they bring in a good pause and launch effect that introduces the chorus. It is a form of the anticipation / delivery that I like so much. But the energy in the vocals is much more subdued here, as is the music. It feels like it is just going through the motions. It is not bad, and has that great keyboard/organ sound in it, but it just doesn’t hold the water that less smooth bands do. There is a great harmonized chorus of voices singing the title in the background. “Dangerous Curves” is an instrumental of Devo proportions at least in the beginning, with the only lyrics the track title. It is a fun, nicely flowing song, with catchy guitar work and driving bass/drums. It loses the computerized rhythm and totally rocks out at the end. “When This Day Is Over” is a bouncy sing-song anthem to getting out of work. It is very empty in its production, as the piano and bass are the only things in the forefront. Drums are light in the background, as is the organ. Even the lead guitar is toned down when it squeals. It features the famous power pop harmonizing as background. The song naturally flows into “Tonight,” which sounds just like a Cars song. It is a juvenile-who thinks he’s an adult themed story teller song. I like this type of call and instrumental response song very much.

“Small Town Talking” starts side two, with guitars bursting through what sounded like a thunder storm. It is a little watching the detectives/reggae in its guitar/bass/drums composition. The guitar solo fades out, which seems like a lazy idea. “Modeling School” sounds a bit like “Urgent” in its vocal performance. But it started off with a dark female chorus singing the title. There is a cool keyboard solo that sounds like it is being performed in an echoing church. This is immediately answered by a short guitar solo in parallel structure. Again the lazy guitar solo fade is used. Bass leads off “Bad Seed” and it is a rushed, driving song. It is jittery with all its instruments and a quick drum beat. I’m not too fond of the metal effect put upon the guitar, or I’m sure this would be the best song on the record. After a minute the pace is sucked out of the song, and replaced with an attempt to be bluesy with guitar and organ solos. The song constantly feels like it is building to something, but it is not that great. The delivery is not as strong as it could be. The breakdowns detract from the overall song’s momentum. “I've Gotta Gun” is a groovy slinky song with dual layered vocals, and some Graham Parker-like effects on the vocals. This song sounds like it would be a lot of fun to hear live, but it is not that great on the record. The organ and keyboard style make the song feel a little creepy, like a downward spiral of decisions, which might be the desired effect for a song that proclaims having a fire arm. “For Whom the Bell Tolls” ends the record with a standard rock song. It feels like chilling prog in its production, from the harmonized guitars and funky bass set low in the background.

The songs are good, they just lack that umph and over all jitteriness that makes albums of this time shine. Perhaps the youthful energy is lacking, and this album feels slightly forced. This is their third album, so that could be true. I can hear where they have potential to be a good band; it just feels like a half-assed effort at recording some descent songs.

Stand-Out Track: Tonight 


  1. I actually bought this at Best Buy when it first opened in '94 or so. They sold new old stock vinyl records, believe it or not. I only listened to this one once back then, but just dug it back up. Never heard of them, so I looked them up and found your site. It's pretty good!

  2. I must be older than you, because that hijacker was big news back in the day. I bought this album along with their debut album used back in the 80s and still find them enjoyable!