Starz – Attention Shoppers! [Remastered] (2005, Rykodisc)
Original Release: 1978, Capitol Records
1. “Hold On To The Night” … 3:19
2. “She” … 3:22
3. “Third Time’s The Charm”4:36
4. “(Any Way That You Want It) I’ll Be There” … 3:24
5. “Waitin’ On You” … 3:24
6. “X-Ray Spex” … 3:29
7. “Good Ale We Seek” … 4:43
8. “Don’t Think” … 3:46
9. “Johnny All Alone” … 7:31
10. “Texas” … 3:58
11. “Wind” … 4:18
Michael Lee Smith – Vocals
Richie Ranno – Guitar
Brenden Harkin – Guitar
Peter Sweval – Bass
Joe Dube – Drums
Ever since discovering Violation I’ve been in a major mood for Starz. The band blended a variety of styles together so effortlessly: glam rock, power pop, rock ‘n’ roll and heavy metal. Attention Shoppers! dives completely into power pop and turns away from drafting up too many heavy numbers that might have been at home on Violation.
“X-Ray Spex” and “Good Ale We Seek” seem to get a lot of praise as being the two best rock songs on the album, but I personally feel “X-Ray Spex” is kinda weak. “Good Ale We Seek” is a good, but odd sounding song. It’s a bit trippy, but I like it. The lyrics are really fun. “Johnny All Alone” is a mid-tempo track that reminds me a bit of Ted Nugent when it comes to the guitars.
Even the bonus tracks are really good. I’m not sure when they were recorded, if they were B-sides or whatever, but they’re good. “Texas” is a fun boogie rocker and “Wind” comes across as southern rock to me. See? This band did it all and they did it well! Maybe this album would’ve been better reviewed and a tad more successful if these songs were on the album.
This album is another strong release from the band. I sound like a broken record but it’s absolutely criminal these guys didn’t find a wider fan base with these albums. Guitarist Richie Ranno didn’t like this more commercial direction and hated the album for years. Only recently has he changed his mind and admitted the album is pretty good.
What I find interesting is that according to the band history in the CD booklet (all the Rykodisc reissues talk about the events surrounding each album), Ranno was at war with bassist Peter Sweval and the band’s other guitarist Brendan Harkin over the direction of the band. They wanted a poppy sound, Ranno wanted hard rock. For some odd reason, Michael Lee Smith & Joe Dube stayed out the argument. I guess they were content to do whatever they were told to do.
Outnumbered, Ranno lost the argument and we got this album. Also, producer Jack Douglas (who produced the band’s first two releases) wasn’t available at the time but Capitol Records was demanding new material so the album was self-produced. If Douglas was leading the way, I think we would have had a very different album.
The end result of all of that is a very commercial album that is just as good as their harder material. It’s just too bad that the commercial sound turned off the small fan base they had.
Highlights: “Hold On To The Night”, “She”, “Third Time’s The Charm”, “Good Ale We Seek”, “Johnny All Alone”, “Texas”