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a1American Dream: The Portastudio Recordings

The Heaters

Omnivore 2016

Review by David Bowling

 

During the late seventies and early eighties, The Heaters were almost the next big thing. They opened for the likes of The Talking Heads, Cheap Trick, and Van Halen. They brought rock and roll energy to their modernized girl group sound. Lead vocalist/sax player Mercy Bermudez, vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist Maggie Connell, and vocalist/bassist/drummer Missy Connell were a connector between the classic girl group sound of the 1960’s and the female rock bands who would follow them. Unfortunately, their two studio albums could not capture the magic of their live appearances and were commercially unsuccessful.

During 1983-1984, they were back in the studio. Ten tracks were completed but for various reasons the material was never released. In 2007 the band reunited for a concert and several years later began transferring their unreleased material to a digital format. The result is American Dream: The Portastudio Recordings.

In some ways the music has an unfinished feel to it. During the 1980’s their label wanted them to re-record the material and they refused; trying to keep the sound as close as possible to their live performances.

Songs such as “American Dream” and “All I Want To Do” have a stripped down punk music vibe with vocal harmonies on top. “I Want To Love Again” even has a Shangi-las vibe. It is the fusion of two distinct types of music from different eras that makes their sound so unique.

Time moves on and there are some dated aspects to the album and the music. It was a tough sell in the 1980’s when musical tastes were moving in a number of directions and making the girl vocal group sound antiquated. Today there is more a niche for this thirty year old music.

American Dream: The Portastudio Recordings is a nice glimpse into the past with a band that traveled in an unusual direction as they paved a way for women to explore the rock and roll idiom.

Rating: ***

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