Regrets, They Had a Few, But They Knew New Wave Could Rock Hard


New wave spoiled the plans of many bar-band hard rockers in the late ’70s. So pain and frustration is what came from SVT, Jack Casady slumming from Hot Tuna, frontman Brian Marnell roped in from the club scene that birthed Huey Lewis & the News. No Regrets, reissued on Ryko, was their only LP. Casady’s bass growls darkly, the guitar is pre-genre-splitting heavy metal, and the mix is booming, buried in a smog of echo and phaser encircling the ears. No Regrets was almost immediately shown the door, along with other similar good efforts by the Hounds, Christ Child, the Reds, Silver Condor—any regional bunch of heavy club-scene journeymen desperate to fit into the going fad.

The sound of struggle makes it a difficult hard rock piece, not metal but too dire for pop rock. As often as not, SVT’s morose melodies were set back into the crevices of the band’s big amp attack. “North Beach” is a bleak surf instrumental, or maybe just plain depressed over not being able to afford the rent. “You Don’t Rock Me” and “Bleeding Heart” are the art of six- and four-string guitar and feedback in battle with a loud gloomy singer. The number said in the notes to be the most appreciated at the time, “Heart of Stone,” wilts next to the four bonus songs no one but people who declined to promote SVT heard at the time. Also for fans of the Wipers circa Over the Edge.

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