White Sister Reviews
Publication, date unknown
Written by Xavier Russell
SO TOMMY ‘Buy one, get one free’ Vance has at last seen the light and started up for a new radio show for ageing AOR (Album Orientated Rock) fanatics like myself called ‘Into The Music’ But i was shocked and horrified to read that TV isn’t going to be playing much in the way of American AOR. If this is to be the case i shall campaign bitterly until Mister Vance changes his tune; after all who invented the term AOR?!
There’s so much good American AOR just crying out for airplay, but British radio has always turned a blind eye to FM Mayhem, as i like to call it. Let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope that Tommy sees the light cos White Sister are just perfect for his new show – soothing keyboards, over-the-top harmonies and sleazy guitar, living room mayhem at its best. Yeah, i know it kinda sounds yucky but, believe me, once you’ve been hooked on this sort of music there’s no turning back and i was once hooked on Angel, which could explain why i like this White Sister album so much. I mean, how can you go wrong when you’ve got Angel’s former keyboards maestro Gregg Giuffria at the helm producing and arranging. If you’re missing your dose of Angel, then pick up on the White Sister mob – they just reek of the White Ones and is that traces of Journey i hear creeping through in the harmonies department? We’re talking serious wimphem here!
Gregg Giuffria’s production can’t be faulted; not since Kevin Elson’s masterful work on Journey’s ‘Escape’ have i heard such a rich, full and textured sound. Just sit back in amazement and listen to the way the man feeds the keyboards through on opening kut ‘Don’t Say That You’re Mine’. Ah, the swirling sound of those synths brings back fond memories of Angel in their heyday.
Oh, and talking of Angel, at the end of Side One there’s a real treat in the shape of a song called ‘ Whips’, the Frank Zappa toon all about the poutin’ Angel guitarist. ‘Whips’ was penned by the Angelic line-up that included Fergie Frederiksen, now with Toto, Ricky Phillips (ex-Babys) and punky himself and boy oh boy what a song: it’s up there with Klassiks like ‘The Tower’ and ‘White Lightning’. Not too surprising then to find Gregg contributing additional keyboards.
However, don’t think this is an Angel clone band. White Sister are actually very original, especially on ‘Promises’ which really hits home with some tasty axe work from Rick Chadock and Dennis Churchill’s voice has to be heard to be believed- very Michael Bolton. I could go on but there’s no point cos every track’s a winner. If you liked Angel, you’ll love ‘White Sister’.
Publication, date unknown
LAST TIME i heard this bunch, in Los Angeles, I cringed in horror: a band that looks like Angel and sounds like Journey, a band that’s been around under various monickers since the late 70’s before settling on a name a few years ago which went perfectly with their bland sound, a band who made quotes like “We don’t do drugs, every third word out of our mouths isn’t ‘f***’ and we don’t advocate that kids go out and hang their parents”. Not too hopeful, right? Exactly the same state of mind with which I approached their album, with the rose-on-a-knife-blade logo and the four guys on the cover with the open-neck shirts and the white boots with the scarves round the ankles and the pouts and, ah, you get the idea…
So shock of all shocks when it turns out to be not bad at all. It still occasionally degenerates into Journeyisms, especially on the harmonies, but more often soars into Angelic heights, no doubt helped by having former Angel keyboardist Gregg Giuffria doing the producing and arranging and providing the keyboard work – and doing a grand job too, rich and sweet and full – and by having and Angel-penned song ‘Whips’, nicely ending side one.
There’s nice , majestic keyboards and heavy guitar opening both sides, dynamic melodic metal but with some sinew and muscle instead of the fat, flabby meat that generally gets exported from this part of the world. ‘Love Don’t Make It Right’s’ a very good song; hefty harmonies , and most of the rest is smooth, precise and pro. Only the final track – the ballad at the end getting to be as inevitable as wind after after a curry – has a nasty smell. Irrelevant slush but its definitely in the minority.
Fashion by Passion
Kerrang! Magazine Date Unknown
Written By Derek Oliver
“Something melodic this way comes…and then…and then…as you bend down to tie a rogue shoelace that probably came adrift whilst groovin’ to the latest Zebra LP, White Sister blast you with a grandiose exercise in toe-curling melodic mayhem. Guitars (mainly) and synthesisers converge beautifully, the lyrics are melodramatic and the songs themselves relentless, remorseless, unstoppable and hummable…which leads me to draw only one conclusion; that “Fashion By Passion,” is White Sister’s proudest hour- and a bit!
Within this fine frame I can detect only one problem; the results are so slick they might actually scare people off! And for “slick” read cleverness and inventiveness combined with razor sharp hard rock riffs…Pomp Rock, in fact, to the max.
Over six months late, mainly due to hefty feuds over incidental matters like rejected artwork and studio mix-downs, this follow-up to White Sister’s hotly tipped and critically licked debut LP (1984) sees the band remain intact (virtually: Garri Brandon has been replaced by new keyboard man David Vincent who, due to some strange quirk of nature, doesn’t actually play on this record!). Little has changed overall, however, save for a slicker image, a slightly modernised sound…and a better record.
Here, WS’ ripe images and sweeping,urgent sentimentality are indulged to the full, illuminated by the amazingly grand songs and the sheer pomp and circumstance of the (self) production- absolutely no-one has been allowed to interfere. NO-ONE!
There’s the preliminary lusty yearnings of “A Place In The Heart,” the exuberant optimism of “Dancin’ on Midnight,” which manages to capture the same untroubled bliss as Y&T’s “Summertime Girls,” and “Save Me Tonight,” which slides easily into the niche vacated recently by Michael Bolton; a ballad as overblown as Bolton’s classic “Call My Name,” opus ‘cept, and I really had to pinch my botty here, it’s actually better!
A surprisingly excellent version of The Beatles “Ticket To Ride,” hits the spot, while the second side, as surprisingly as the first, keeps it’s best secret hidden until the penultimate track. I’m talkin’ about “Troubleshooter,” a mechanical hit’n’run riff that completely seduces you with it’s outrageous success. A track like this makes it easy to ignore the sugary swing of “April,” and the melodic slush of “Lonely Teardrops.”
Only one thing remains to be said. By a unanimous decision, this record is completely and utterly indispensable.”