When Extreme’s beautiful acoustic ballad “More Than Words” permeated the airwaves in 1990 both it and it’s album Pornograffitti was an immediate success. One of the most successful songs of the year, “More Than Words” tugged at the hearts and emotions of people of every age. However, those not aquainted with Extreme thought that they were purchasing an album of soft acoustic tunes based on the single—they were wrong! What a surprise it must have been when high-energy rockers like “Decadence Dance,” “Get The Funk Out” and “Little Jack Horny” blasted the through the speakers.
So what does that have to do SR-71? Plenty!
Named for the supersonic Blackbird aircraft, SR-71’s debut release Now You See Inside boasts two outstanding power punk-rockers right off the bat. The opener “Politically Correct” and the single “Right Now” are tracks that should be of particular interest to Goldfinger and Blink 182 fans. But post-punk purists will probably be mighty disappointed when they find out that these two songs are an aberration. It was as if these songs were placed on this record by accident. The rest of the album’s nine tracks take on a decidedly pop/rock tone in contrast to the angst and punk attitude of the record’s two openers.
Does that make this a bad record? On the contrary!
Now You See Inside is full of tremendous pop/rock tunes comparable to current acts like The Tories and Taxiride. While the record is full of great guitar interplay, it’s vocalist Mitch Allan’s Brit-tinged pipes that are most impressive. Allan moves convincingly from pulsating tunes like “Last Man on the Moon” and “Non-Toxic” to the more subdued, somber material like “Empty Spaces” and the soulful acoustic tracks “Alive” and “Go Away.”
By far the catchiest song on the record is the overly infectious “Fame (What She’s Wanting)” with it’s biting guitar strokes and Tories/Queen-inspired harmonies. And then there is the anthemic “Paul McCartney” that ironically, is not about Paul at all. The song draws upon the Paul-is-dead theme but only using it metaphorically to illustrate the optimism and simplicity of relationships in a bygone day (i.e., “We Can Work It Out,” and “Silly Love Songs”), while hinting that perhaps those days are over, “In a world so much brighter / If Paul were still alive.”
When you hear “Right Now” on the radio don’t get the impression that the entire record is indicative of the power punk this song purveys—it’s not. However, these guys are enormously talented and Now You See Inside has well-structured, energetic pop/rock songs with enough hooks to keep you listening for some time.
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// Notes from the Road
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