Uriah Careys On

My brother played a tape of Innocent Victimunceasingly. For him, it was four-on-the-floor rock. At the time, it was in triumphant competition with tapes of The Alice Cooper Showand Kiss's Love Gun. "All you did was cheat 'n' lie/Now you've gone and made me cry," one IVcut thundered; even though my brother's girlfriend appeared not to "cheat 'n' lie" at all, it was the kind of loud, direct sentiment that appealed to him. And it really did rock much harder than the live version of Alice's "Go to Hell." IVproved just the opposite of the critical received wisdom: Rather than "plodding," it was an album where Heep tromped on the gas pedal. Hectored by management to come up with another "Easy Livin'," the band produced "Free 'n' Easy," which had more velocity and power than the original but, unfortunately, none of the catchiness. Lawton sings himself in a circle at one point on one of two quasi-hallucinogenic "Heep waltzes" on IV: "Maybe it's the dancer or it's the dance the dancer dances." Indisputable proof that the beloved Tap-ish compositional engine—then still without a name—was purring along smoothly under the Heep hood.

Castle America, www.castlemusic.com;
Spitfire, www.spitfirerecords.com

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