BUILT TO PERFORM
Someone once told me that if the mighty Runaways were around today, they’d sound something like Phantom Blue. Well I don’t know about that, but I know that this scorching release has (apart from parts of Europe) gone unnoticed by the record buying public. Phantom Blue have progressed leaps and bounds from their first self titled release back in 1989, and I know many people have hastily judged these gals on the basis of that first album cover as ‘fluffy, glammy, busty broads with little talent’. WRONG ! ‘Built To Perform’ is one of those very special albums where every song is filled with catchy hooks and time changes, leaving you numb upon your first listen. Released in late 1993, this brutal five pronged blitz really showcases the talent of this classy Californian outfit. The album explodes into action with ‘Nothing Good’, a track littered with great hooks and time changes, and some of the heaviest riffs I’ve ever heard. ‘Time To Run’ quickly follows, and punches you hard in the face. The heavy artillery is wheeled out for a cover of Thin Lizzy’s ‘Bad Reputation’, and I’m confident Phil Lynott would’ve given it his nod of approval. There’s a nice change of pace as the brooding ‘My Misery’ (the first single) slows thing down a little. Vocalist Gigi Hangach fills this track full of emotion, and it’s radio friendly enough to be a hit. ‘Little Man’ is yet another tune full of those superb hooks and changes. This song kicks (literally – listen out for drummer Linda McDonald’s double kick. She’s up there with the best of ’em and with Kim Nielsen, provides a sturdy rhythm unit). Michelle Meldrum’s wailing guitar weaves it’s way throughout ‘Better Off Dead’, and she provides a blistering solo on this track also. The big, mean, fat riffs continue with ‘Loved Ya To Pieces (I do love them lyrics) and the tasteful (!) ‘Anti Love Crunch’. An album of this calibre only comes along once in a while, and I was also fortunate enough to see ’em live in London twice last year. The last I last heard, bassist Kim Nielsen had departed and they were seeking a replacement (please write if you know what they’re doing now). If you appreciate rockin’ musicians churning out songs littered with fat, mean riffs and catchy time changes, ‘Built To Perform’ is for you. Maybe Phantom Blue are the Runaways of the 90’s ?