PLATINUM BLONDE – Standing In The Dark [Limited Edition remastered]
Here’s another request, Canadian favorites PLATINUM BLONDE and their full length debut “Standing In The Dark“, reissued in a white vinyl LP with a fresh remastered job from the original analog tapes.
While on the following album Platinum Blonde softened their sound to climb the charts, “Standing In The Dark” is an entirely different animal. At its heart, “Standing In The Dark” is just a rock&pop album. In fact it’s a top-40 radiable rock&pop album very much of its era (1983).
But it’s also a thumping post-punk album. And a balls-out rock album. And, in spite of being somewhat of an amalgam of a handful of obvious contemporary influences, it’s somehow unique and original.
There are plenty of new wave records from the early ’80s which sound like carbon copies of each other, but none of them sound exactly like “Standing In The Dark”.
This is due to (unlike with the overly produced and session-musician plagued follow-up) the fact that it’s the creation of tight, balanced power trio (guided by British producer David Tickle). Like all great bands, Holmes, Galli and Steffler add up to a whole greater than their sum.
The rhythm section of Holmes (bass) and Steffler (drums) lock into heavy grooves that thump out of your sound system. New wave records have a tendency to dial back the attack, this one pushes it forward. Steffler had a knack for using electronic drums to their full advantage — playing to their strengths instead of using them as a cheap techno-gimmick.
Holmes’ basslines are economical but solid as a freight-train with just the right blend of funk and rock.
Over top of this textbook-perfect rhythm base, is Galli’s criminally underrated guitar work. One of the most unique guitarists ever produced by the great white north, he displays his signature arpeggiated style on “Standing In The Dark” which was later, bogglingly, completely abandoned by the band.
Though clearly influenced by the likes of Andy Summers (The Police), The Edge (U2) and Steve Stevens (Billy Idol Band), what set his sound apart from his contemporaries was his ability to combine the delicate, counterpoint melodies of minimalist new wave and post-punk players with a straight-ahead rock crunch of an L.A. hair metal band.
Not a balancing act easily accomplished, yet he did it while retaining the best parts of both schools and discarding the weaknesses. Though it’s easy to say “Yeah, that’s just typical ’80s guitar playing” when you hear it, it’s really something more.
It’s perfectly quintessential ’80s guitar playing with every note working in sync with his two band mates.
If nothing else, “Standing In The Dark” is a testament to a trio working in perfect synergy, appealing to pop and rock audiences simultaneously.
I could wax poetic about the virtues of tracks like “Not In Love” and “Take It From Me” but all you really need to know about Platinum Blonde and “Standing In The Dark” is in the video for “It Doesn’t Really Matter” above.
It’s not going to be for everyone, but for fans of ’80s glam painted with the broadest of strokes, it doesn’t get any better than this. And, to some of us, it still really does matter.
You’ve seen it first here, at 0dayrox
01 – Doesn’t Really Matter
02 – Standing in the Dark
03 – Sad Sad Rain
04 – Take It From Me
05 – Cast a Shadow
06 – Leaders in Danger
07 – Not in Love
08 – Video Disease
09 – All Fall Down
10 – Cinderella Story
Lead Vocals, Bass, Keyboards – Mark Holmes
Guitar, Vocals – Sergio Galli
Drums, Percussion – Chris Steffler
Backing Vocals – Jo-Anne Bates