Way overlooked & underrated effort from dat Q girl
Daniel J. Hamlow | Narita, Japan | 07/06/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Finally, a chance to fill in the previously missing chapter of Stacey Q's brief history on the charts! Ms. Q, aka Stacey Swain, followed up Better Than Heaven, which yielded the #3 hit "Two of Hearts," with Hard Machine in 1988. While nothing there hit the Top 40, the material there is more distinctive rather than the filler that plagued the latter songs of her debut. Much of her vocals is mid-range, little of the high-pitched girlishly cute vocals that made "Two of Hearts" a hit. It does help in establishing her in a more serious mode.
Many of the songs had single potential, but not "Don't Make A Fool of Yourself," whose rather pokey and uninspired rhythms only made it to #66. So much for the advice of that song.
Why not release "Favorite Things," which opens with some sound effects of stuff clattering on the floor, which is then followed with a cute strolling rhythm? Probably because it would have been perceived as a clone of Madonna's "True Blue." It's still enjoyable, given the joy one feels at finding someone whose interests are mutual. Yes, there is a list of what are some favourite things, albeit more of a materialistic bent.
"Kiss It All Goodbye" was also a much better choice as a single, with its perky synths and upbeat rhythms. However, the best song here hands down is "The River," beginning as it does with a racing drum section, a rock guitar keeping up in pace in this entry of early 80's techno, and keyboard chords.
The second single, "I Love You," didn't make the Hot 100 singles chart, but is basically "Two of Hearts Part II-Deuces are Wild," synths and girlish vocals. Seriously, this too was a better chart contender despite any accusations that this was more of the same.
The title track has Q rapping over a funky bass synth and the other instruments. This is her own attempt at a "Rapture"-type tune, minus any singing, and it isn't bad, with some atmospheric synths at places. The hard machine seems to be embodied in the guitar solo played mid-song by Rusty Anderson. "After Hours" is Q's version of Madonna's "Holiday" and "Where's The Party" rolled up in one, done in her mid-range vocals and a more brisk beat. Another candidate for a single, as is the album closer, the lullaby-like ballad, "Another Chance."
Jon St. James remained at the producer's helm. That same year, he produced a girl duo named Bardeux, whose sound and lead singer sounded like Stacey Q to a tee. Only my respect for Ms. Q prevents me from wondering if Stacey "Acacia" Smith was an alias, as both their initials are S.S.
A much better and way overlooked sophomore effort from Stacey Q. Now if only they'd released the other songs from here as the first single, she would've gone on to greater things, but then again, cult status is also good."
John Jay | Boston | 12/05/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is an excellent CD it sounds great all the songs sound cool,great to buy for your collection if your a fan of her music."