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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

(the) Fools - Heavy Mental

Name: (the) Fools
Album: Heavy Mental
Year: 1981
Style: Pub/Power Pop
Similar Bands: The Tubes, John Cougar Mellencamp, Hall & Oates
"One Word" Review: Power-Rock-Fun
Based Out Of: Ipswitch/Boston, Mass.
Label: EMI, Capitol
Heavy Mental - Cover & Record
Heavy Mental - Back & Record

Heavy Mental (1981)
  1. Mind Control 3:57
  2. Dressed in White 3:29
  3. Around the Block 3:38
  4. Local Talent 3:47
  5. Lost Number 3:31 /
  6. What I Tell Myself 4:18
  7. Last Cadillac on Earth 3:32
  8. Coming Home With Me 3:36
  9. Running Scared (Roy Orbison) 2:28
  10. Tell Me You Love Me 3:04
  11. Alibi 3:43
Album Rating (1-10): 8.0

Members & Other Bands:
Richie Bartlett - Guitars (Rhythm A's)
Doug Forman - Bass, Vox
Michael Girard - Vox (Rhythm A's)
Chris Pedrick - Drums
Stacey Pedrick - Guitars
Vini Poncia - Producer
Bob Schaper - Assistant Engineer
Steve Zaretsky - Assistant Engineer
Phil Moores - Assistant Engineer
Steve Ettinger - Assistant Engineer
Gary Wright - Equipment Tech.
Joe Striegler - Road Manager
Scott Blessington - Equipment Transport
Bill Burks - Art Direction
Margo Nahas - Illustration
Bob Peak - Cover Photo
Waring Abbott - Back Photo

Unknown-ness: I’ve never heard of this band. But from the obvious dry humor of the Heavy Metal play on words, one can assume that it will not be true heavy metal. Plus they’re called the Fools. I’m guessing them to be s joke/parody band, but sometimes that can be a lot of fun: to just go for a specific style can create some really good songs. The generic new wave/rock band photo on the back highlights their fun nature: what could be more fun than a bunch of cools hanging out where there is a pool AND casino in one place?

Album Review: “Mind Control” has heavy guitars, powerful drums and a jittery neurotic single keyboard note played in repetition. This feels like a Footloose / Pat Benetar type of rebellious aerobic energy exerter. It also has the overproduced bar room style of Foreigner.
“Dressed in White” creeps up like a motor powering on. And I get the feeling that this is like a Robert Palmer/Huey Lewis number. The bridge builds up to a potentially powerful chorus, but it turns out to be quiet and subdued. The song and especially the repetitive chorus, is a little annoying.
“Around the Block” has a nervous anxious beginning with driving drums and a powerful guitar hook. The verses build nicely towards a relieving instrumental section, which eventually builds up again and transitions nicely back into the building verse. The biggest bit of vocal energy is exerted at the very end of the song, making a nice ending.
“Local Talent” feels like a pub rock song that was sterilized in the studio, lacking all the grit and bluesy nature it probably had live. The vocal style is borrowed a bit from Mick Jagger. The theme of the song is that of a local lady of the night.
“Lost Number” feels like a chugging, revved up Elvis Presley number. Or maybe I’m just hearing Hall & Oates. The melody is very playful and oldies-ish.

“What I Tell Myself” starts with a sleazy guitar and just propels itself along on the fumes. It has a superficial ZZ Top sound. But it is still upbeat and a song you can’t really ignore.
“Last Cadillac on Earth” enters with a bouncy bass line. Guitars and drums pick up the line and over-emphasize its simplicity. Barroom aggressive, echoing vocals accompany the music. MC5 would be proud with the song & the shout out to Detroit.
“Coming Home With Me” possesses a definite Billy Joel melody. It is jittery, bouncy and fun, with a chorus that skips up and down the scale. It borrows from the melody in the line from the Beatles’ “Birthday” song “Yes we’re going to a party party.”
“Running Scared” is a cover of Roy Orbison’s song. The vocals reverberate and echo like Orbison’s do, but the lack of his depth is quickly apparent. The supporting music has the tempo of a march.
“Tell Me You Love Me” has a great new wave build and shows a lot of promise early on. The one note bass line sends the perfect amount of nervous nature to complement the driving drums and guitar.
“Alibi” has a quiet beginning with a building, chugging guitar and it speads up into a fun jittery rocking song. It has a definite bar room sound, but it has been composed for a cleaner new wave set. It is definitely the catchiest, most memorable song on the album.

Apparently they got their start and big break with a parody cover of Talking Head’s “Psycho Killer” called “Psycho Chicken.” That said; I don’t hear much of a comedy/parody nature in the record. These songs sound like straight forward rock songs, without enough humor or comedy to stand out, categorizing them as a one-off shtick band.

Stand Out Track: Alibi

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