Girl week continues here at Bring Back Glam! with a review of Sheer Greed. The 1980 debut was released by Jet Records and features Phil Lewis on vocals, Phil Collen and Gerry Laffy on guitars, Simon Laffy on bass and Dave Gaynor on drums. The track listing looks like this:
Things You Say
Little Miss Anne
Do You Love Me (KISS cover)
Take Me Dancing
Girl was definitely part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, and their influences are typical 70s rock fare. In many songs, I can hear Toys in the Attic-era hear Aerosmith, especially on “Take Me Dancing.” This is also my favorite songs on Sheer Greed.
“Things You Say” is downright brilliant. By listening to this effort, it’s pretty clear that every member of Girl is a gifted technician. While Girl didn’t necessarily break any musical boundaries with Sheer Greed, they did cover a lot of ground and encompass a lot of rock influences. The dual guitar work is more than impressive and probably helped Collen years later while collaborating with Steve Clark in Def Leppard.
“My Number” is a precursor for what Phil Lewis would later do with L.A. Guns. The song has a catchy riff and thumping bass line. This is one of the hardest tracks on the album, and it fits nicely.
Girl playfully mock the greatest country in the world with “Heartbreak America.” Of course, the Brits are not singing about the America, rather one of my fellow countrywomen. After all, American girls can be trouble at times. “Doctor Doctor” is an upbeat rocker about lost love. Lewis strains his voice on this song, just like he would years later on “Rip and Tear” from L.A. Guns most successful released Cocked and Loaded.
A unique tempo, staccato beat, and guitar tone set the tone for “Strawberries.” It’s a fabulously odd little ditty with clear punk influences. It’s also rhetorically interesting to simply call the song “Strawberries” when Lewis croons over and over “Strawberries and Cream/That You Could Break My Heart…/You’re Breaking My Heart…”This brings back the age old question professional rhetoricians ponder for a living: was the word choice intentional, or subconscious? I can’t imagine the band unknowingly giving such a complex song a simple name, but stranger things have happened.
There are drawbacks to Sheer Greed: the production, at times, is spotty. Some tracks are crystal clear, others muffled. The drums could be kicked up a notch album-wide, and sometimes Lewis’ voice sounds weak. Still, Sheer Greed is one great album. Giving these Glam classics a spin makes me feel like an music archeologist: knowing the roots of L.A. Guns and Def Leppard is infinitely exciting.