Innocent, The - 1985 Livin' In The Street

richardbrichardb Poole, Dorset

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ARTIST: Innocent, The
ALBUM: Livin' In The Streets
LABEL: Red Label
SERIAL: 73100-2
YEAR: 1985
CD REISSUE: 2009, Innocent Records

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: image

LINEUP: Rodney Psyka - lead vocals, percussion * Alan Greene - guitars * Trent Reznor - keyboards * Albritton McClain - bass * Kevin Valentine - drums, electronic percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 Livin' In The Streets * 02 Freeway Ride * 03 Dora * 04 With You * 05 Heartzone * 06 Top Secret * 07 Love'll Come Knockin' * 08 Back In My Life * 09 Queen Of The Border * 10 The Names Have Been Changed

Background

Seeing as we've already covered the wonderful debut album of Cleveland's finest Breathless in the glory days section, it seems only right and proper that we pay attention to this little beauty.

The origins of this band begin a few years after the untimely demise of Breathless when Rodney Psyka formed The Innocent along with former Breathless members guitarist Alan Greene, and drummer Kevin Valentine.

They were also joined by bassist Albritton McClain (Donnie Iris and the Cruisers), and keyboard player Gary Lee Jones. Jones was replaced shortly after the recording of the album by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails fame.

As you can probably surmise from the above, The Innocent were something of a minor AOR supergroup and they most certainly delivered the goods with considerable panache. I was lucky enough to lay my hands on a copy of the album on it's original release in 1985, and to this day my rather battered vinyl copy rarely strays from the turntable, much to my partner's annoyance.

I think it's fair to say that there isn't one bad song on the album, and how often can you say that about a new AOR release these days? Naturally, given the display of talent on array here, the musicianship is first class.

Special mention must go to guitarist Alan Greene who is allowed to let rip at almost every available opportunity. To cap it all Rodney Psyka is an incredible vocalist with a classic AOR voice sounding similar to Mickey Thomas of Starship.

The Songs

The title cut opens the album, and from the moment your hear Alan Greene's mean and dirty guitar, and Rodney Psyka delivering the line 'I was out disturbing the peace' you know The Innocent mean business!

Next track 'Freeway Ride' has a hook mighty enough to fell a charging Rhino in its proverbial tracks. This is followed by 'Dora' which comes across as a grittier Toto then the tempo slows for the wonderful power-ballad 'With You', phew!

Next song 'Heartzone' lulls you into a false sense of security with it's opening, and then knocks you for six on the chorus with Alan Greene's mighty guitar riff and Kevin Valentine's thunderous drumming on the chorus. By this stage the average AOR listener should be in a state of ecstasy, and we've only just finished side one.

Side two opens with the double whammy of the haunting 'Top Secret' brimming with atmospheric keyboards and 'Love'll Come Knocking' driven along by yet another mean and dirty guitar riff from Alan Greene.

This pair is then followed by 'Back In My Life' where a broken hearted Psyka bemoans the loss of a lover and the album's piece de resistance 'Queen Of The Border'. This has a chorus so infectious you'll be humming it for days afterwards.

Last and by no means least, we have 'The Names Have Been Changed' sounding like Starship in their heavier moments.

In Summary

Apparently after this release the band toured extensively, even opening for Bryan Adams of all people. They then went back into the studio to record a second album but unfortunately Red Label went bankrupt and sadly the group without label support, disbanded.

Considering the limitations of the budget (reflected in the rather dreary album cover) it's frightening to think what the band might have achieved had they had a major record deal and big budget production.

To conclude, I'll sum up this album in two words 'essential purchase'.


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