Quarterflash's unique sound softens my heart, actually
Daniel J. Hamlow | Narita, Japan | 11/08/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Quarterflash is one of those 80's groups that were short-lived and only had a few singles to their name. What's generally overlooked is their sound, a unique brand of 80's new-wave, snarling guitar rock, a great vocalist/sax player, and synths that became more prominent with the last album.From the opening wailing sax and upbeat pace, and the snarling guitars that come late in the song, "Harden My Heart" was Quarterflash's first big hit, and some say only, though given the fact I have all three of their albums, I take issue with that. OK, so it was their only Top Ten hit, but since when do chart positions alone determine greatness? Rindy Ross delivers of those bittersweet lyrics with great aplomb. She reminds me of Cyndi Lauper without the gooniness, more polished, and with a higher range.With its breakneck bass and drums, with jangling electric guitar, slamming riffs, "Find Another Fool" rivals Pat Benatar's "Heartbreaker." Yet another song of being let down and disappointed, and Rindy's upper register is pretty to listen to. Bruce Sweetman has a violin solo accompanied by that fierce guitar, adding to the exoticness of Q's sound."Critical Times" proved the template for future sad introspective Styx-like ballads backed with string synths like "Eye To Eye" and "It All Becomes Clear." Like those two, this is sung by Jack Charles. The sense of insecurity of a fading love is highlighted here. "you lose all track of yourself when you're feeling that way/you can always hide yourself in a corner/worrying about the miserable pain/but everyone seems to swim in it/it makes the world go round.""Valerie" is Cyndi Lauper type new wave with jangling guitar riffs, and no, it's not the Frankie Valli or Steve Winwood song. This could've been a single easy."Try To Make It True" could be a Journey song if it weren't for Rindy's sax and characteristic guitars."Love Should Be So Kind" is another slow ballad with quiet keyboards and guitar that demonstrates Rindy Ross's vocal talent.The near eight minute jam "Williams Avenue," where there's a big night life, where "the wine is red and the song is blue," combines 70's disco synths with funky brass section and Rindy's sax. Bruce Sweetman's violins come in during the slow sections of the song.After this, they would do a song for Fast Times At Ridgemont High before coming out with the one of the first albums I bought--Take Another Picture. The irony is that I picked this one last, but it doesn't detract from my appreciation of them. Now, if they'd do like the Go-Go's and Bangles for one last hurrah, because their sound softens my heart."
Brandon Hixson | Waco, Texas USA | 05/26/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Released in late 1981, this album includes three charting singles; "Harden My Heart" - #3 pop hit and #1 album rock hit, "Find Another Fool" - #16 pop hit and #12 album rock hit and "Right Kind Of Love" - #56 pop hit. The Quarterflash album sold over two million copies and topped charts in many countries and landed in the #8 spot in 1982 here in the US. Marv (guitar and song writer for eight of the nine tracks) and Rindy Ross (lead vocal and alto saxophone) were both school teachers who gave up their teaching certificates for the music field. Marv and Rindy had some local success in the northwest with a band called "Seafood Mama". The band had cut a demo version of "Harden My Heart" which actually hit #1 on the local radio station in Portland. This caught the ears of producer John Boylan and he flew in to hear the band which played a mixture of polished rock, swing, country and folk. The band changed line-ups, focused on rock n roll and changed their name to Quarterflash, making this the first new project signed to Geffen Records. Quarterflash is one of the cleanest albums that I have ever heard. The solos are rightly placed and Rindy sings using many dynamic changes which offer the listener a solid forty minutes of pleasure. The album is also quite moody having several songs in b minor that dive deep into the demises of love affairs. "Valerie", an up-tempo ballad about a woman receiving advances at an art school is quite amusing. The jazz influenced "William's Avenue" is also a great addition to the package. Jack Charles, the lead guitarist, adds some changes to the direction of the LP with his melancholy "Critical Times". The album still sounds as good today as it did when I first heard it over twenty years ago. As a 28 year old teacher, I listen to most everything, but I still find refuge in the classics and Quarterflash will always be at the top of my list!"
Williams Avenue, worth the price of admission alone!
Daniel James | Seattle, WA | 02/10/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As a few others here have mentioned, this is one of the most underrated albums of the early 80's. True their hits left a little to be desired, but their first album shows this band had far more talent than most of their peers.
Aside from the two hits (most people seem to forget that Find Another Fool had plenty of airplay too), they had some great songs showcasing their abilities. Williams Avenue is one of those perfect songs, great vocal work on the first three minutes followed by a groovin' 4+ minute jam with a great solos on violin, sax and guitar with Rich Gooch's moovin' bass under it all.
I'd happily buy this album just for this tune alone, and then enjoy the other great tracks such as "Critical Times", "Valerie" and "Crusin' with the Deuce""
A. Griffiths | London | 09/22/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I only knew of Quarterflash through the single "Harden My Heart", so I went for this CD hoping to find a collection of similar songs...and I did. There are another 4 or so songs that are written in a similar vein to that great track, and they all sound pretty good, so for the low price of the CD, I would say it was mission accomplished. The other songs are ok, but Rindy Ross, who has a great voice for this type of music, is replaced by a male vocalist on two of them, so those usually got skipped, although on further listening, they all ended growing on me, so I'm happy. As Quarterflash were only successful at the time of this release, I'm going to stick with this album."
Great soft rock!
Brian Campbell | Chicago, Illinois | 01/03/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I had a copy of this album on record in 1981 when it first came out. I listened to it over & over again. In 1995, I found a copy of this on CD, not knowing that it existed on CD. Boy, was I happy to say the least. Every song on this LP is incredible from start to finish. Critical times is such a lovely ballad. Find another fool was a great rocker. Williams avenue turned it into a little funky jazz. You will not be sorry for buying this CD."