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Once Bitten… Twice Shy

Ebony (1983)
Rating: 9/10

Ebony Records isn’t one of my favourite record companies for producing class acts, but I was totally shocked by this LP. Even when I saw the silly sleeve with the old clichéd poses on the front, I thought this is gonna be another thrash ‘n’ bash LP. But oh no, soon as ‘Deep Water’ opened the LP visions of bands like April Wine, Pretty Rough, Dokken and Aldo Nova came to mind. Those of you who like US / Canuck rock, I thoroughly recommend this LP, and don’t be put off by the sleeve. In fact, it puts US acts such as Cobra, Preview and James House in the shade.

The aforementioned ‘Deep Water’ opens the LP and sure as hell sounds totally American. Where has the band been hiding all this time? ‘Take It All Away’ follows, starting with a delicate synth intro and bursting into an uptempo rocker. The guitarist, Steve Harris, is really proficient for such an unknown and along with Hellanbach’s Dave Patton one of the best I’ve heard in ages. Side one’s closer ‘Think Of Me’ is an absolute classic; excellent vocals from Tony Mills and classy keyboards from Paddy McKenna. The guitar solo on this number is where Steve Harris really lets rip and shows off his immense talent.

Side two is basically as hot as side one, with ‘Chained By Desire’ being another really standout track. While ‘Reflections’ is classic AOR of the breed that will have Kerrang! scribes Derek Oliver / Xavier Russell wetting their pants! It reminds me a lot of Styx and Shooting Star. The title track closes the LP and is another uptempo rocker.

All in all, Once Bitten… Twice Shy is a debut album to be totally proud of and one to send to all the major record companies. If Heavy Pettin’ can get signed to Polydor, then Shy will have no trouble. A London gig would probably clinch the deal. Definitely one of the best LPs of ’83.

Kelv Hellrazer

Review taken from Metal Forces, Issue 2 (1983)

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