Fireworks

Chrome Molly - 'You Can't Have It All ...' / 'Stick It Out' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/50/d5/a7/1275_chromemollyyoucanthaveitallstickitout_1306011022.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     May 21, 2011    
 
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Two albums on one disc.

A band that never really fulfilled their potential, Leicestershire's Chrome Molly arrived too late to capitalise on the NWOBHM, although guitarist John Antcliffe had been a one-time member of Blitzkrieg (and original drummer Chris Green jumped ship to join the 'Krieg when Brian Ross reformed the band in 1985). So with Mark Godfrey behind the drumkit vocalist Steve Hawkins, bassist Nick Wastell and Antcliffe landed a three-album deal with Powerstation Records – the Stockport County of record labels – and fulfilled two-thirds of their contract before being dumped. They would go on to be picked up by I.R.S. records for the much better Jools Holland-produced 'Angst' album (largely a reworking of previously issued material) and call it a day (the first time around) with 1990's 'Slaphead', one of the few albums that was so bad I took it back and asked for a refund.

Chrome Molly toured hard and worked hard, and as a point of reference sounded not unlike Heavy Pettin' (particularly in the big choruses), but ultimately they were an OK band on a second rate label which specialised in banging out 'product' in undeniably awful sleeves. Their debut album, 1985's 'You Can't Have It All… Or Can You', has its metal heart in the right place and featured their trademark song 'Thanks For The Angst' and the catchy, anthemic single 'Take It Or Leave It' but very little else of any great note. (OK, that's a bit harsh; album closer ''Come Back' has a degree of razzmatazz and 'Don't Fight Dirty' is a bruising streetfighter of a song.) Two years later the follow-up 'Stick It Out' didn't even have those highlights; in the NWOBHM Encyclopedia Malc Macmillan describes this second album as "a cold and unrewarding listening experience," which hits the nail bang on the head. Powerstation didn't even bother releasing a single to promote it, which speaks volumes.

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But if you want to explore the band's early days, or just replace the scratchy vinyl, the two albums on one disc does offer value for money. For the completists it would have been good to have included 'Let Go' from the cassette version of 'Stick It Out' (which would have just scraped on to the CD) and a double disc could have included the handful of B-sides as well as the 'I Want To Find Out' 12" which is where the band finally began to find their feet with a catchy A-side and a great take on Gary Moore's (RIP) superb 'Nuclear Attack' on the flip. In the booklet notes Hawkins reckons that the label's view of how Chrome Molly should have sounded (like Def Leppard, apparently, but obviously on a tighter budget) didn't really reflect what the band were all about, but you still can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear…

John Tucker

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