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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Girlschool - Hit & Run~ Screaming Blue Murder*

Name: Girlschool
Albums: Hit & Run~, Screaming Blue Murder*
Years: 1981~, 1982*
Style: Metal, Hard Rock
Similar Bands: Motorhead, The Runaways, Ramones, Heart, L7, Lita Ford, The Donnas
One Word Review: Metalized-Power-Punk
Based Out Of: London UK
Label: Bronze Records Ltd, Original Sound Recordings, Polydor, Ariola Group of Companies
Hit and Run~ - Cover & Record
Hit and Run~ - Back & Record
Screaming Blue Murder* - Cover & Record
Screaming Blue Murder* - Back & Lyric Sheet 
Hit and Run (1981)~
  1. C'Mon Let's Go 3:35
  2. The Hunter 3:15
  3. (I'm Your) Victim 2:42
  4. Kick It Down 3:03
  5. Following the Crowd 3:08
  6. Tush 2:15/
  7. Hit & Run 3:08
  8. Watch Your Step 3:20
  9. Back to Start 3:32
  10. Yeah Right 3:20
  11. Future Flash 4:27
Screaming Blue Murder (1982)*
  1. Screaming Blue Murder 3:22
  2. Live With Me 3:22
  3. Take It From Me 2:48
  4. Wildlife 2:47
  5. It Turns Your Head Around 3:05/
  6. Don't Call It Love 3:39
  7. Hellrazor 2:40
  8. When Your Blood Runs Cold 3:19
  9. You Got Me 3:13
  10. Flesh And Blood 2:24
Album Rating (1-10):~8.0
*8.0

Members & Other Bands:
Kim McAuliffe - Rhythm Guitar, Vox~* (Painted Lady, Doro, Motorhead, Infa-Riot, Fastway)
Kelly Johnson - Lead Guitar, Vox~* (Headgirl, Motorhead, Fleetwood Mac, John Foster, Infa-Riot)
Enid Williams - Bass, Vox~ (Painted Lady, Headgirl, Doro, Motorhead)
Denise Dufort - Drums~* (Headgirl, Motorhead, Motorschool, Doro, Infa-Riot)
Gil Weston - Bass, Vox* (The Killjoys)
Vic Maile - Producer~
Nigel Gray - Producer, Engineer*
Chris Tsangarides - Mixing, Producer, Engineer*
Alan Daniels - Illustration~
John Dent - Mastering~


Unknown-ness: I've never heard of this band, but when I saw them in a 2 / $1 bin, I had to pick them up. It looks like the energetic girl rock music that I've been into lately, so I was excited to check out these, especially since they were from 81-82. I like the rough and ready look, Ramones/Twisted Sister metal vibe to their covers.

Album Review: Girlschool is the longest running all girl metal band. The band is accurately summarized by the editor of Revolver’s comment “Punk-metal mix tough, but poppy enough for radio” (mar 2006). Based out of the UK, Lemmy from Motorhead was majorly responsible for their success as he championed them and worked with them many times over both of their careers (Headgirl & Motorschool). These are their second and third albums (of 12 so-far), and the third album was the first that was supported with a US tour. Many critics said there was a drop off between albums, but as far as I could tell listening to them back to back, I could not decry any sort of decrease in quality.


“C'Mon Let's Go” was the third single released. It begins with a heavy guitar revving up in the stage right speaker, reminding me a little of Life Of Agony. A punishing drum beat follows, and the song kicks into full metal gear, with heavy power-pop-like chord changes, and a voice not unlike Joan Jett. The chorus is a fun call and response “Let’s Go!” And the chugging guitar/drums duo reminds me of Bow Wow Wow, and Adam Ant too.
“The Hunter” was the b-side to “Yeah Right.” A plotting guitar sets a heavy stomping tempo, and this song’s basic melody, and the way the vocals are sung in the verse reminds me of Adam Ant again. The stalking melody is conniving and the hushed vocals help to illustrate a big cat stalking its prey.
“(I'm Your) Victim” pushed the ball down the hill right away, and the song drives along full throttle. The female vocals have a calm punk attitude about them, and the choir of girls harmonically supporting the lead creates a powerful message as a group. The lead guitar solo is blistering, but holds within the melody’s boundaries. The song ends with the chorus of “Run and hide.”
“Kick It Down” has the band tuning up, and sounds as if it would be a great first track, as the instruments are giving feedback. The song then launches into a heavy version of a grimy Detroit garage rock song. I imagine the song could be changed little to become “Kick Out the Jams.”
“Following the Crowd” has a jittery guitar intro, but that is quickly overtaken by a heavy lead guitar hook. The song chugs along like a backing track for a kick boxing tournament montage. The lyrics are sung powerfully and inspired. The chorus has a darkness to it with the minor chord changes.
“Tush” is a cover of the ZZ Top song. The band keeps the bluesy swagger and the vocals are short, punchy and growly. They let loose on the guitar solos, bring the metal edge in where they can.

“Hit & Run” was a top 40 UK single. The vocals sound honest and thoughtful, while the music fires on all cylinders. The chorus finds the group of girls repeating the song title three times. The drums are crashing in the chorus, but otherwise, the song is a general solid heavy rock song. The vocals are not threatening, and even come off as somewhat delicate and sincere.
“Watch Your Step” kicks in with a fast paced drum beat, and the rhythm guitar comes in to match. The lead guitar adds extra volume to the “Ace of Spades” style melody. The instrumental lets the guitar run wild, and it ends with a simple bass-drums reset. This is followed by a rendering of the song title repeated through distortion like a megaphone. The song begins to slowy fade out, and then it drops away quickly.
“Back to Start” has a slow-yet-aggressive drum beat introduction. Metal-Enhanced back alley pub rock guitars are added to give it a sinister swagger. The chorus has white-water rapid style guitar playing, where the roughness smoothes out for a second only to return to the chugging roughness.
“Yeah Right” was also a single. The band sets the stage with two measures of guitar and drums, only to grab it with lead guitars and aggressively drag it forward. The steady singing is punctuated with shouts from the rest of the band of the title. The song is a rebuttal, spit in your face retort to parental figures employing their rules and regulations over the listener. This is a theme embraced by Twisted Sister, and it really speaks to the young, misunderstood teen listener. But the bottom line, as they say in the song is, “You can’t go back.”
“Future Flash” creeks and grows slowly with atmospheric interference, and then suddenly starts with the precise combination of heavy guitars, buried bass and skipping drums. Amidst the ear bleeding guitar solos and abrasive rhythm guitars are minimal synth-like effects, assumingly related to the song title.  Heck, maybe it was just once, and I’m now just imagining that it happened.

“Screaming Blue Murder” picks up right where you left the last track: aggressive guitars and drums. But this time, they use aggressive vocals to match. They’ve embraced the theatrics of metal vocals just enough to sound more menacing than all the songs on the first record put together. Other than a fun song to sing along with at a live show, the song does not present anything too new or catchy. It just has some shifting chord changes, and whiny metal guitar in the ending instrumental that fades right out.
“Live With Me” is a Rolling Stones cover. And the band puts on the fuzzed out metal guitar make-over. The vocals maintain the aggressiveness from the first song. The melody is catchy, as is expected with a RS song. The guitar solo in the instrumental section feels reserved, and follows along with the basic melody.
“Take It From Me” has power chords played in a chugging rhythm guitar style in the introduction. The vocals and guitar hook trade barbs, and each one goes away to allow the other spotlight, never overlapping. But that is just a great pop song cue. This is a solid pop song dressed up in metal.
“Wildlife” was on the “Wildlife” EP that preceded this album and was rerecorded for here. A scroll down the neck of the guitar, and a stomping tempo give life to this song, with vocals that remind me of Sleater-Kinney a little bit. The chorus is another call and response with the backing group chanting “Get Ready.”
“It Turns Your Head Around” feels like a rock-a-billy punk song at the beginning. But the vocals are performed in a snarling manner. The chorus is a fun and catchy sing along of the title. It matches the tinny, Rancid style lead guitar with rhythm guitar power-pop chord shifts.

“Don't Call It Love” was on the “Wildlife” EP that preceded this album and was rerecorded for here. The beginning features a precise, vocal melody like guitar intro that then gets absorbed into the sea of the song, but reemerges when it gets to the verse. By the time the chorus hits, the guitar shifts to a secondary hook, with the same precision of the first one. A tone shift occurs near the end, and the now-familiar melody pushes up an octave for a pleasant change.
“Hellrazor” is a jarring wall of noise that is molded into a charging forward onslaught with its head down and bayonet held right in front. The vocals are a smooth calmness that brings a balance between the aggressive tempo and rolling melody. The song continues to rise right to the very end, where it spins out into the finish.
“When Your Blood Runs Cold” displays the heavy-yet-catchy side to the band. The vocals are confident and bold, but produced differently; the melody and vocals could be a Pat Benatar song. The poppy guitar solo just enhances the already laid melody. And after its brief eruption, the bass and drums reset the song in a well-timed reorganization.
“You Got Me” is another template of a well-organized pop song featuring heavy production values, like chain-enhanced drums, and the buzzing guitar. The verse builds nicely to the chorus, and it features the requisite instrumental after two verse-chorus run throughs, which leads right back into the chorus.
“Flesh And Blood” has a bold use of drums setting the tonal melody, and a rhythm echoes a single note to the same beat. An effect is placed on the lead guitar making it oscillate with reverb on a loop. Breathy, echoing vocals are overlays, as if an invisible presence is whispering the vocals flesh and blood over the basic instrumental. And the whole drum-lead melody quietly fades out. 

Stand Out Track: ~C'Mon, Let's Go

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