CD Reviews

Helix - 'Wild In The Streets' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     March 09, 2012    
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Another Helix remaster by Rock Candy.

By 1987 Canadian rockers Helix could feel a change coming that they really had no control over. Signed to the US arm of Capitol Records, the 'Long Way To Heaven' album had failed to live up to the sales of 'No Rest For The Wicked' and 'Walkin' The Razor's Edge'. It had done well elsewhere but the label didn't really care about that, and with the usual tales of changes in Capitol personnel, the band were sent away to make another record only because they were still contracted to. Also, in the intervening two years between albums the Bon Jovi phenomenon had happened, labels were all trying to find the next big band and suddenly Helix found themselves with far more competition for attention at their own label.

In a bid to get more radio play they also felt the need to change producers, which led to a rather fractured recording schedule after the original idea of having five top producers handle two songs each fell apart. They'd already done 'Wild In The Streets' and 'Give 'Em Hell' with Neil Kernon in three days in England and moved on to Mike Stone, who'd just been fired by David Coverdale. Starting the recording with Stone in Toronto, he decided he couldn't work there and insisted that the label give him the rest of the album to do and the money to spend several weeks at Richard Branson's Manor Studio in Oxfordshire, accounting for the whole budget for the album, and then some.

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Again the band had only managed to come up with seven songs in six months so others were picked for them, including the killer Nazareth ballad 'Dream On', an unreleased Joe Elliott song called 'She's Too Tough' - which Leppard eventually recorded themselves as a B-Side - and a song by FM duo Steve and Chris Overland called 'Never Gonna Stop The Rock' - the band loved the first two but hated the latter. Personally I think they're three of the strongest tracks along with the typical Helix rockers 'Wild In The Streets', 'High Voltage Kicks', 'Shot Full Of Love' and 'Kiss It Goodbye'. There were a couple of fillers in 'What Ya Bringing To The Party' and 'Love Hungry Eyes', but it was a pretty decent album that just fell a little short of the anticipated quality.

It's again odd that whilst bassist Daryl Gray does get to play on this one, drummer Greg 'Fritz' Hinz is augmented by Mickey Curry (Bryan Adams), Matt Frenette (Loverboy) and even former Helix drummer Brian Doerner (Saga, Refugee), guitarist Brent's twin brother. The remastering gives the album some much needed bottom end and the knowledgeable Paul Suter gives a good insight into the turmoil affecting the band at the time. Despite good initial promotion, the label soon pulled the plug on the album due to lack of sales and 'Wild In The Streets' was the last album they made for Capitol US, and probably the last Helix remaster by Rock Candy too.

Phil Ashcroft

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