HEAVY PETTIN’ – Lettin’ Loose [Cherry Red Digitally Remastered +2]
Eighties British cult hard rockers HEAVY PETTIN’ debut album ‘Lettin’ Loose‘ has been reissued, remastered and with 2 bonus tracks, on Burnt Out Wreckords via Cherry Red Records.
Signed by major label Polydor, this Heavy Pettin’ rockin’ debut was produced by Brian May and Queen engineer Mack, a confident display of the band’s talents with their catchy melodic hard rock being favorably compared to early Def Leppard.
This Scottish quintet was formed in July 1981 when vocalist Steve Hayman and guitarist Punky Mendoza joined with guitarist Gordon Bonnar, bassist Brian Waugh and drummer Gary Moat.
Taking their name from a UFO album, they toured the UK heavily, and their impressive three-track demo led to a single “Roll The Dice” through Neat Records, followed by a major contract with Polydor.
Make no mistake, like a few other bands of that era, Heavy Pettin’ should have been huge from when they emerged in 1981 and this, their mainstream debut from ’83 still sounds fantastic with its mix of hard rock, NWOBHM and glam melodies packing a real punch to this day.
Despite having Queen’s Brian May at the producer chair, ‘Lettin’ Loose’ sounds heavy, punchy. May respected the band’s sound at the moment and the result is as closest Heavy Pettin’ sounded in its origins.
Listening back to the album the first thing that strikes you is the similar style they shared with Def Leppard, especially the early albums such as ‘High and Dry’ and ‘Pyromania’, with their mix of the melodic and heavy. There’s certainly elements of early Motley Crue and all the US scene too.
Amongst the accessibility of their material, there’s some grit and heft and you have to wonder whether that was the issue that held back their ascent to the top as they were too heavy for glam fans and too melodic for the metalheads.
‘In and Out of Love’ is a classic start of the album, full of Leppard’s snarling youthful attitude but with an extra portion of shine with the gang vocals in the chorus adding a big West Coast feel to things.
The swagger was more akin to their Sheffield contemporaries but there was certainly a scent of Sunset Strip laced throughout and Steve ‘Hamie’ Hayman’s vocals were a mix of Biff Byford and Vince Neil whilst the twin guitars of Punky Mendoza and Gordon Bonnar equally sang and bruised.
It’s these twin guitar attack that really shine during second track, ‘Broken Heart’, a wonderfully kaleidoscopic production job by May adding tasty layers and little twists that make listening a joy and, whilst never overcooked, give everyone the space to show what they can do.
Things get a lot heavier on ‘Love on the Run’, a hedonistic tale that features a scorching solo and pounding and compulsive turn by rhythm section Gary Moat and Brian Waugh, propelling this real gem along at top speed, followed by ‘Love Times Love’, another highlight of the live set with more gang vocals, melody and a breakdown near the end that ticks a lot of 80s hard rock boxes.
There’s more frantic riffing on ‘Victims of the Night’, the track having the heaviness and drive of prime Saxon but adds yet more harmonies in the chorus and gives the best of both worlds, really playing to the strengths of Heavy Pettin’ and pointing the way to future releases by the quintet.
Despite its title, ‘Rock Me’ has a medium pace quality that focuses more on dynamics than all out attack and switches between slow, atmospheric passages and big stadium rock.
‘Shout It Out’ on the other hand is a straight down the line fast rocker that seems to be heavily influenced by Leppard as the guitars sound so very much like Clark and Willis under the ‘Mutt’ Lange production era. ‘Devil in her Eyes’ is another multi-part, deeper, album track that reveals more and more with repeated listens.
The bonus track ‘Roll the Dice’ see the band swinging into action with a powerful duo of truly heavy tracks, with the former being arguably the highlight of the whole release and shows that the Queen guitarist certainly knows how to rock, bringing out something that Biff’s Barnsley boys would have been proud of.
‘Shadows of the Night’ it’s another strong song full of the style that Heavy Pettin’ were comfortable in and one that makes you want to hit the repeat button to play the whole album again.
With a remastering overseen by drummer Gary Moat, ‘Lettin’ Loose’ is an 80s cult classic and still sound as fun and fresh today, the perfect introduction to someone who may have missed HEAVY PETTIN’ the first time around.
You’ve seen it first at 0dayrox
01 – In And Out Of Love
02 – Broken Heart
03 – Love On The Run
04 – Love Times Love
05 – Victims Of The Night
06 – Rock Me
07 – Shout It Out
08 – Devil In Her Eyes
09 – Hell Is Beautiful
10 – Roll The Dice
11 – Shadows Of The Night
Bass – Brian Waugh
Drums – Gary Moat
Lead Guitar – Gordon Bonnar, Punky Mendoza
Lead Vocals – Hamie
Produced & Engineered by Brian May & Mack