Spotlight Album Review #4

Reviewed on this page:

Music history is littered with bands who were more interesting because of their members than for their actual musical output. These bands come in many forms; some of them were offshoots of better-known bands, while some others were bands that featured a future hitmaker in their lineup. The Graces, an all-female trio that briefly existed in the late-'80's, fit into both of those categories. Band leader Charlotte Caffey enjoyed chart-topping success earlier that decade as guitarist for the Go-Go's. One of the other Graces was none other than Meredith Brooks, who scored a #2 single called "Bitch" nearly a decade later. The band's short lifespan ended when the third member, Gia Ciambotti, became employed as a touring backup singer for Bruce Springsteen. The Graces recorded only one album, the 1989 release Perfect View. It is now out of print, but is available as an mp3 download.

On this album, Caffey was clearly the main creative force, having co-written nearly all of the songs. But a plethora of producers and backing musicians on Perfect View suggests that someone had little confidence in the trio to carry the album on their own. Each of the three women shows potential on one song apiece: "Lay Down Your Arms" (sung by Caffey) and "Should I Let You In" (sung by Brooks) are appealing pop songs with an edge, and Ciambotti shows convincing hard-rock chops on "When The Sun Goes Down". The Heart-shaped ballad "Tomorrow" suggests that the trio had some chemistry. But when an album's high points are only half-interesting, it doesn't need low points, and Perfect View definitely has a few. The overwrought anthem "Out In The Fields" (co-written by Caffey and Belinda Carlisle) and the pajama party pop of "50,000 Candles Burning" are sour reminders of the more cloying music that came out of the '80's. "Time Waits For No One" sounds like a reject from a Belinda Carlisle solo album. The other three tracks sound like inferior imitations of Vixen and Roxette (think about it). The over-commercialized sound now makes this album sound dated. It's a shame; if Perfect View was less slick and a bit more earthy, it might have become a cult classic instead of a forgotten footnote.

Track Listing:

1. Lay Down Your Arms
2. When The Sun Goes Down
3. Perfect View
4. Fear No Love
5. Time Waits For No One
6. 50,000 Candles Burning
7. Should I Let You In
8. We Never Met
9. Tomorrow
10. Out In The Fields


Other spotlight album reviews:

#1: Sigur Ros - "Von" (1997)

#2: Various Artists - "Concerts For The People Of Kampuchea" (1981)

#3: Gerry Goffin - "It Ain't Exactly Entertainment" (1973)

#5: Genesis - "Calling All Stations" (1997)

#6: hindu love gods (1990)

#7: Various Artists - "Message To Love: The Isle Of Wight Festival 1970" (1996)

#8: Distractions - "Nobody's Perfect" (1980)

#9: Deconstruction (1994)

#10: Juicy Groove - "First Taste" (1978)

#11: Emmylou Harris - "Gliding Bird" (1969)

#12: Various Artists - "Beyond The Wildwood: A Tribute To Syd Barrett" (1987)

#13: Candy - "Whatever Happened To Fun..." (1985)

#14: RTZ - "Return To Zero" (1991)

#15: Klark Kent - "Kollected Works" (1995)

#16: Various Artists - "Rainy Day" (1984)

#17: Alex Chilton - "1970" (1996)

#18: Feist - "Monarch Lay Your Jewelled Head Down" (1999)

#19: Attila (1970)

#20: Slipknot - "Mate. Feed. Kill. Repeat." (1996)

#21: Eyes Adrift (2002)

#22: Stoney and Meatloaf (1971)

#23: Elliott Murphy - "Aquashow" (1973)

#24: Evanescence - "Origin" (2000)