American Dream: The Portastudio Recordings

The Heaters

Omnivore, 2016

http://theheatersonline.com

REVIEW BY: David Bowling

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 09/11/2016

During the late ’70s and early ’80s, The Heaters was almost the next big thing. They opened for the likes of the Talking Heads, Cheap Trick, and Van Halen. They brought rock ‘n’ roll energy to their modernized girl group sound. Lead vocalist/sax player Mercy Bermudez, vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist Maggie Connell, and vocalist/bassist/drummer Missy Connell were a connecting link between the classic girl group sound of the 1960s and the female rock bands that would follow them. Unfortunately, their two studio albums could not capture the magic of their live appearances and were commercially unsuccessful.nbtc__dv_250

During 1983-1984, The Heaters was back in the studio. They completed ten tracks, but for various reasons, the material was never released. In 2007, the band reunited for a concert and several years later began transferring their unreleased material to a digital format. The result is American Dream: The Portastudio Recordings.

In some ways, the music has an unfinished feel to it. During the 1980s, their label wanted them to re-record the material and they refused, wanting to keep the sound as close as possible to their live performances.

Songs such as “American Dream” and “All I Want To Do” have a stripped down, punk music vibe with vocal harmonies on top. “I Want To Love Again” even has a Shangri-las vibe. It is the fusion of two distinct types of music from different eras that makes their sound so unique.

Time moves on, and as such, there are some dated aspects to the album and the music. It was a tough sell in the 1980s when musical tastes were moving in a number of directions, making the girl vocal group sound antiquated. Today, though, there is more of a niche for this thirty-year-old music.

American Dream: The Portastudio Recordings is a nice glimpse into the past with a band that traveled in an unusual direction, paving the way for women to explore the rock ‘n’ roll idiom.

Rating: B

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