As regular readers know I like being a cheery sort, bountifully dispensing ‘I love this’ and ‘I love that’,  in industrial quantities and I don’t like it when I find absolutely no merit in a LP.  But even if I do I can usually look back fondly on when I bought it and patronise my young self from a protective distance.  That’s just how I roll, but I’m struggling here folks, really struggling.

Today’s prisoner hauled off my shelves and made to fight for its’ life is the self-titled debut LP by House of Lords, released on Gene Simmons’ record label.  I can vaguely, vaguely remember buying this one cheap in Backstreets Records in Carmarthen (6 March 1990, my handy sticker tells me) and after 23 years all I can remember about my motives for buying it were the nice marble-effect cover* and a good review in Kerrang!  You know that crushing moment in life when you realise your parents are just ordinary fallible mortals and not the gods you thought they were? this had a similar effect.

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Why did I buy it though? it’s AOR for Crom’s sake ! Nothing good ever came of AOR, ever!!** Also, never mind the marble-effect cover flip the sucker over and feast your eyes on the band.  There they stand, blinking in a blue haze wearing frilly blouses and collectively sporting the worst hair I can think of this side of D’Molls – did I not notice?  Also, check out the song titles – Love Don’t Lie, Under Blue Skies, Call My Name, Hearts of The World – Come on 1537, pay attention!!  Also naming a band after the UK’s unelected second chamber of governance – stuffed full of archbishops, the nobility and ennobled political cronies does seem like a very strange thing to do^, in fact I can’t think of a less rock and roll name.

To give myself some credit for open-mindedness, I do remember playing this LP a certain amount of times to see if I could make myself like it.  I felt the same way again just now.  To give the band their dues they’re competent and professional sounding to the core featuring Gregg Giuffria (of Angel fame) and a drummer who’d done time with Alice Cooper, but that’s it – that really is it.  If the music isn’t pompous and laden with awful 80’s rock band synths (not in a good way like van Halen’s ‘Jump’), it’s a sexless rock swagger distilled from the corpses of various US bands.  The sound, in particular the drum sound, is so trebley and awful, it is as if the songs have been given a non-stick sheen, guaranteed to repel any interest a listener may wish to lavish upon them.  The songs come in two types, Heartfelt or Raunchy – Call my Name vs. Lookin’ For Strange, if you like; neither of which do what they should.

One enduring piece of mystery about this LP is that it was produced by the late Andy Johns, a man whose credits include Exile on Main Street, Led Zeppelin II, III and IV (as engineer) and as a producer Marquee Moon, Free Heartbreaker, Night Songs and the first two Humble Pie LPs.  That’s a serious pedigree.

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The best bit on the LP is a touch of Spanish-sounding flamenco guitar at the beginning of either ‘Call my Name’ or ‘Jealous Heart’ – I don’t know which, I’d lost interest by then and was probably only 8 AOR minutes away from losing total control of my bowels.  That’s it – that’s the highlight.  That’s me trying to be positive.

All in all It adds up to a waste of co-polymer of vinyl chloride acetate, folks!

181 Down.

*always been a sucker for marble-effect covers, ‘been a ruin for many a poor boy, and lord I know I’m one’ – as someone sang once, probably.

**apart from those 3 Pat Benetar tracks, More than a Feeling, Don’t Stop Believin’, those 3 Foreigner tracks, those 2 Toto tracks, Keep on Loving You and that Jimmy Barnes one I liked; but apart from that …

^having said that I did pick this LP tonight because the House of Lords (real, not musical) have just voted to allow the bill allowing same-sex marriages, which I heartily approve of (and not just out of spite!) to proceed to the next stage of legislation.  True story.

16 thoughts on “Hell HoL

  1. I’ve never heard these guys… did Gene Simmons ever sign any successful acts?

    Not sure I’m feeling the attraction of marble on album sleeves either. I’m a sucker for pentagrams and goat heads though.

  2. I listened to this album 2 days ago! I was really psyched about these guys ($immmons Records — they did a whole lot of PR in Canada with Gene) and I bought the album the week it came out.

    As for the here and now: I still like it, it’s heavy on nostalgia. But it’s pretty limp.

    1. It’s just too wimpy, for me if something’s that polished it has to be brilliant, otherwise …

      Still, you gotta dig the marble-effect cover though!

      1. It’s contributed to me buying at least two Whitesnake LPs and King’s X ‘Out of the Silent Planet’.

        I should get out more, I really should.

      2. I’m trying to think of others, why am I drawing a blank suddenly? Surely Europe must have a marble album cover! Or MSG, or somebody like that!

      3. I seem to remember it looking more like bathroom tile. I only own that one in a stupid box set, which has no album covers for the discs inside.

  3. Glad to hear level-headedness reigns over there. To that HoL, I tip my hat.

    Now, regarding the brown streak in rock n’ rolls underwear? For shame. So many bands that came out at that time were neutered versions of rock n’ roll. Kingdom Come? Babylon AD? Firehouse? Maybe not as bad as HoL, but guilty of cheesiness nonetheless.

    So much cheese, sure could go for some crackers.

  4. To be fair, it did result in an excellent photographic use of animal-costume Legos.

    As for the legislative body: Yippee! I’ve got to admit I do not deeply understand any opposition to same-sex marriage that can’t be resolved by having those who don’t like it, not do it. Thankfully, your unelected legislature has some sense!

    1. Thank you.

      I agree totally, live and let live; I’m all for a stable society and I believe, maybe naïvely, that marriage promotes this, especially when children are concerned. Yowza! Rock ‘n Roll !! etc, etc.

    2. Gene never signed a successful act. He had these guys, Loz Net to, Gypsy Rose, and he managed Liza Minelli’s music career. I think Gene has been involved with Kobra and the Lotus.

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