Straight Between The Eyes
1982 | POLD 5056 | Polydor
Recorded at Le Studios, Morin Heights, Canada
Production: Roger Glover
Engineer: Nick Blagona
Cover painting: Jeff Cummins
Photography: Jim Houghton
Track listing (Side 1):
1. Death Alley Driver
2. Stone Cold
3. Bring On The Night
4. Tite Squeeze
5. Tearin’ Out My Heart
Track listing (Side 2):
2. MISS Mistreated
3. Rock Fever
4. Eyes Of Fire
Don Airey had become ‘bored’ allegedly with churning out old Rainbow and Deep Purple tracks, so instead opted to join Ozzy Osbourne….churning out old Sabbath and Ozzy tracks! The unknown, classically trained David Rosenthal was recruited as a replacement. The album cemented the more radio-friendly sound Blackmore had been seeking and it would prove to be a commercial success on both sides of the Atlantic.
‘Death Alley Driver’ commences proceedings, with a great driving riff (every pun intended) it’s a fine opening track with a superb JS Bach inspired guitar solo and an excellent keyboard solo too. There’s a hint of Deep Purple’s ‘Highway Star’ about the verses, but it’s still a standout Rainbow track.
‘Stone Cold’ is a superb rock ballad with a fine arrangement and excellent lyric, backed by a great melody. And it proved to be Rainbow’s highest charting US single, reaching No.1 – but almost failing in the UK by comparison, only reaching No.34.
‘Bring On The Night’ has a nice phased/flanged guitar introduction that is reminiscent of the intro to ‘The Shed’ on Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll. It’s a good uptempo melodic rocker but not too distinctive.
‘Tite Squeeze’ has a funky style riff that works well and is one of the better tracks on the album. A distinctive octaver guitar solo creates a different sound for Blackmore that again works well. Nice track.
‘Tearin’ Out My Heart’ closes side one and features an emotive lyric and vocal performance from Turner, superb guitar solo from Mr B. One of the highlight’s of the album.
Side 2 opens with ‘Power’, a straight forward 3 chord style rocker that’s quite similar in structure and delivery to ‘Do You Close Your Eyes’ from Rainbow Rising. It wouldn’t be the first or last time Blackmore would ‘recycle’ old or familiar riffs.
‘MISS Mistreated’ is next up and is another instant Rainbow classic. There had been a fairly well publicised fight between Blackmore and former Deep Purple singer David Coverdale (now with Whitesnake at this time). Blackmore had accused Whitesnake of ‘ripping off’ the Rainbow song ‘All Night Long’ with their own 1980 song ‘Fool For Your Loving’. Blackmore insisted on titling this track with ‘MISS’ in capital letters before ‘Mistreated’ so that Coverdale couldn’t accuse Rainbow of ripping off the original Deep Purple ‘Mistreated’ song. ‘Miss Mistreated’ in its own right is a superb example of when Rainbow got it right, they got it very right. Excellent moody keyboard-laden intro, into a typical Blackmore riff. Great chorus, top solo. A classic.
Shame that we descend into fairly banal territory with ‘Rock Fever’, featuring a decidedly average chorus that we’ve heard a million times before and since. The song starts with an interesting keyboard and guitar intro, into a dramatic verse structure but then seems to run completely out of ideas for the chorus. The guitar solo too seems to be just an exercise in pointless meandering with no real idea of where its supposed to go. Tragic waste of some good some ideas that perhaps a stronger producer could have asked Mr Blackmore to work a bit harder on? Pretty average ending too.
The album finishes with ‘Eyes Of Fire‘, which sounds like a B side to a single and I suspect would have originally been the almost expected Blackmore instrumental (until the vocal arrives of course) as it definitely reminds of ‘Vielliecht…’ and even ‘A200’ off Deep Purple’s ‘Burn’. Slightly throwaway and seems out of place on the album. Nice guitar solo though.
OVERALL RATING: 8/10
See review from Kerrang! No. 14, April 1982