Monday, August 08, 2011

JET - Empty Handed (1981)

JET - Empty Handed (1981)
Requested in "Request & Fill Corner" section...

JET was a female fronted act founded by the Michael Smith / Barbara Barrow matrimony in the earlier '80s.

Their rather obscure one and only album "Empty Handed" is a catchy AOR-rock recording with a dash of pomp throwing in. The star of JET are Barbara Barrow powerhouse vocals, compared to Ann Wilson / Heart best days.

"Night Night Night" opens this 8-track LP in great form. This song has 'that kind' of toe-tapping catchy chorus impossible to resist. A commercial tune with twangy guitars where Canadians Holly Woods and Toronto comes to mind.
It's on next track "Love Slave" where JET sounds really pompy due the swirling keyboards and song skeleton. Excellent track which sound better and better after repeated listens. Barbara rocks here sounding a lot as Ann Wilson.
Next track "Stranded In The Moonlight", penned by guitarist Michael Smith was later recorded by Martee LeBow in her '86 album 'Crimes Of The Heart' (already posted here in this blog). JET version is more melodic and pompous.
"Car On Fire" starts with wonderful out-of-space synths, unfortunately the song derives into a simple rocker that lacks substance. Not bad at all, but promised more.

"Renegade" has a true early eighties sound, featuring in the chorus an original orchestration for this genre. Hot guitars (very good) throughout and passionate vocals by Barrow.
"Venus And Norma Jean" is another interesting pompy tune with a semi-midtempo pace. Strong vocals on a song not easy to sing.
On "Caribbean Snow" the band explores a new territory with a more stylized sound including a Spanish guitar, which adds more variation to this good album.
JET returns to pompy AOR on last track on "Barbed Wire", but the pomp sensation is given by the keyboard arrangement, basically it's a rocker very very '70s Heart. Rippin' guitar solo, power pipes by Barbara Barrow and great keyboard solo at the end.

"Empty Handed" is a rare and very good indie female AOR LP, including catchy and well composed tunes in this style, terrific vocals and high doses of pomp keyboards and guitars, correctly produced and mixed.
The vinyl-rip (not mine) could be better, but apart from some scratches and clicks, the resulting files (restored by me) sound more than decent.

01 - Night Night Night
02 - Love Slave
03 - Stranded In The Moonlight
04 - Car On Fire
05 - Renegade
06 - Venus And Norma Jean
07 - Caribbean Snow
08 - Barbed Wire

Barbara Barrow - Vocals
Michael Smith - Guitars
Danny Torroll - Guitars
Keith Montross - Keyboards
Ricky Niez - Bass
Billy Johnson - Drums

JET - Empty Handed (1981)


Anonymous said...

Super-cool ! Great vocals.
Thanks 4 this rarity

sander said...

never heard of this one. Love it. Fantastic songs and indeed kick ass vocals.