Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Starz - Violation

I believe that Starz came to my attention in the 70's via the standard rock mags and the fact that they were managed by the same people as Kiss and produced by Jack Douglas. Combining members of Looking Glass ("Brady") and Stories ("Brother Louie"), the guys moved into a pop-metal direction and put out several quality records.

This, their second album, opens with a song that apparently was a hit for them (though I don't remember it being played in the Chicago area). "Cherry Baby" is not the Neil Diamond gem, but a cool piece of powerful pop all their own with ringing guitars, leads ranging from clean and melodic to fairly raucous and highly memorable vocals. After this intro, the album moves into a vaguely thematic mode, with songs about a future where rock'n'roll is outlawed but rebels continue to find it and embrace it. "Rock Six Times" is a harder rocker, similar to Aerosmith (down to the solo), which is fitting as they reference "Walk This Way" as a song that a youngster steals from a futuristic thrift shop and inspires him to search out these sounds. The sing-along pop love song "Sing It, Shout It" follows (which doesn't overtly have anything to do with the theme) and then the harder-edged title track does pick up the rebellious tone with the chorus "I want to rock'n'roll - no that's a violation!". The insurgent is captured and threatened with electro-shock therapy - yes, this does get a bit corny at times, but remains catchy throughout. Apparently, "Subway Terror" depicts his escape in a fast-paced hard rocker with some hot lead guitar and then we (or at least I) lose the plot line in the pop-rocker "All Night Long" and the bouncily catchy, lewd "Cool One" about getting a hand job in a movie theater! I guess that was the hero having fun before being caught again in the ominously heavy "Steady" and having his mind blown so badly that he asks "Is That a Street Light or the Moon" in the final ballad.

Not dissimilar to Kiss, though not quite as heavy nor quite as visual (though these guys did have a distinctive look), but fun pop-metal tunes that stand the test of time, despite a but of lyrical silliness.