Album review: SILENT RAGE – Shattered Hearts and Don’t Touch Me There (Remasters)

Rock Candy Records [release date 07.05.21]

US rock band, Silent Rage’s worldwide hit song, ‘Don’t Touch Me There’ (1989) gained them considerable notoriety. Perhaps a surprise then that once you peel away the risque lyrics, you reveal a band of considerable talent.
It was the second of two releases now reissued in remastered form by Brit label, Rock Candy Records.

The band was formed by guitarists/ songwriters, Mark Hawkins and Jesse Damon. Paul Sabu produced their debut album, Shattered Hearts, in 1987.

It’s an album is very much of its time, highly derivative. There was a formula, strictly adhered to by the mid range practicioners of Melodic Rock like King Kobra, Giuffria and Black’n'Blue. Silent Rage had all the pieces – shout-it-out choruses; ringing guitars; a bright, brash studio production; tales of lust, love and heartache, and loads of studio polish. On most tracks here, they just can’t get them to fit. And too often decent melodies and choruses are spoiled by cliched lyrics.

The title track,’Shattered Hearts’ and ‘Make It Or Break It’ may reveal some surprisingly grown up observations on life and love, and the teasingly poptastic ‘Sarina’ might reach out confidently to MTV and FM radio. But elsewhere and too often the formula they are seeking to emulate is out of range.

Don’t Touch Me There (1989) changed all that.
We can immediately see that their songwriting skills and individual talents have blossomed in the two years since Shattered Hearts. They were now on Gene (Kiss) Simmons’ label, and he had a hand in the production.

The album was hugely popular in the UK and Europe generally, hitting the top spot on the import charts for several weeks. No surprise. ‘Runnin On Love’, ‘Rebel With A Cause’ and the title track, amongst others, were all switched on melodic rock nuggets, in tune with the times and imbued with honest conviction.
Their covers of the Isley Brothers’ ‘Touch Me’, and ‘All Night Long’, originally written by Curtis Lewis for Aretha Franklin, showed a willingness to stretch out into other forms of rock and soul (not to mention good taste).

The remastering is extremely well done, protecting the integrity of the original dynamics while creating an improved clarity of sound.

No bonus tracks though…shame.

Review by Brian McGowan




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