Girlschool - 'Nightmare At Maple Cross' / 'Take A Bite' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     April 13, 2018    
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With no bonus tracks, only some informative liner notes and photos, there is little to recommend to anyone but completists.

The release of 1985's 'Running Wild' was meant to take Girlschool to a new commercial level. Sadly, even with the appointment of a fifth member in vocalist Jackie Bodimead, the album sold poorly and upon Bodimead's departure, the band reverted to a four-piece again.

They tried to take things back to the more traditional Girlschool Hard Rock sound with 'Nightmare At Maple Cross', even re-enlisting original producer Vic Maile, who worked on their first two albums 'Demolition' and 'Hit And Run'. Lead guitarist Cris Bonacci offers plenty of flair in her playing, driving along 'All Day, All Night' with jagged ferocity. The girls tap into their old-school traits during 'Back For More', which has an influence of early AC/DC. Sadly 'Turn It Up' and 'Let's Go Crazy' are as generic musically as their titles sound. At least with 'You've Got Me (Under Your Spell)', they attempt something Joan Jett might have recorded, though the less said the better about the cringe worthy cover of Mud's 'Tiger Feet'! This was to be the last album to feature bass player Gil Weston. Her replacement was former Rock Goddess member Tracey Lamb, who climbed aboard for the follow-up.

'Take A Bite' has its moments, and the cover of Sweet's 'Fox On The Run' has a large dose of charisma on what is a very uninspired release. Even 'Action' takes us back to a sound from their debut, with lots of attitude delivered in style. The real standout moment is 'Love At First Bite', with its Gothic tones digging deep into the bowels of evil and has the band injecting some serious substance into the music. Kim McAuliffe only has two vocal ranges – "shouty" and "screamy" – which after five or six songs becomes a little repetitive. This is the moment when you miss the vocal contributions from original members Enid Williams and the late great Kelly Johnson. I'm sure the budget and time constraints did not help this release, and it seemed that Girlschool never truly regained the no nonsense Boogie approach that we all fell in love with after 'Screaming Blue Murder'.

With no bonus tracks, only some informative liner notes and photos, there is little to recommend to anyone but completists.

Ray Paul

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