Couchois remind us of what an amazing time it was to be an AOR fan, with such classics as this appearing with staggering regularity. When you cannot fault an album, the results speak for themselves and ‘Nasty Hardware’ is every bit as good as many might have assumed it to be.
Written by: Dangerzone
ALBUM: Nasty Hardware
LABEL: Warner Bros
SERIAL: BSK 3420
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Chris Couchois – guitars, vocals * Pat Couchois – guitars * Howard Messer – bass * Mike Couchois – drums * Chas Carlson – keyboards
TRACK LISTING: 01 Trudy You’re A Bad Girl * 02 How Can I Love You * 03 Pretty Young Girls * 04 Anywhere You Are * 05 Innocence * 06 Roll The Dice * 07 Call It A Day * 08 Do You Really Believe It * 09 Visibility Zero
Sadly there isn’t much I can add to the history of Couchois that wasn’t included in the review of their debut, so in many ways this review might be considered a retread! The music is the drawing point naturally and this follow up to the 1979 self titled debut is surely a pinnacle of the late 70’s/early 80’s US AOR era. Sadly the album has all but been forgotten except for hardcore fans of this wonderful style of melodic rock.
Apparently the band originated from the Huntsville, Alabama region, hardly a hotbed for great AOR bands in the period (Alabama also produced the likes of Crimson Tide and the cult AOR outfit Hotel. Ed). These boys were something special, and this follow up saw the emphasis placed squarely on commercial melodies that veer from Player to the Eagles in the blink of an eye, with not a wasted track.
Speaking of the Eagles, ‘Trudy, You’re A Bad Girl’ is a close relation to the likes of ‘Already Gone’, with more keyboards and luscious harmonies. Upbeat and bouncy, it’s an infectious opener. ‘How Can I Love You’ adopts a softer ballad tone, with gentle guitar work and a hook more befitting Firefall or any band treading the same ground in 1980. A magnificent effort. I swear this track has been covered, but by whom eludes me!
‘Pretty Young Girls’ is a solid rocker, more typical of the bands Southern origins, but highlighted by synthesizer interludes and blazing guitar harmonies. A certain classic is the masterful AOR of ‘Anywhere You Are’ which is prime Player material, the chorus quite the stunner, with some exquisite buildup. Proving they could play rough, ‘Innocence’ is hard rock through and through, the keyboard solo and vocal harmonies three quarters in a lesson for any aspiring AOR punster.
‘Roll The Dice’ was a single, and should have taken radio by storm judging from the wizardry of the hook, which should be a staple of radio even today! First class AOR in the vein of Pablo Cruise, and far ahead of its time for 1980. One track you’ll be listening to again and again. ‘Call It A Day’ has a Midwest vibe, suited to Crimson Tide or Rock Rose, and for enthusiasts another keyboard solo… well I can’t get enough.
‘Do You Really Believe It’ has that sub disco/AOR feel that many bands toyed with, mixing funky bass work with layer upon layer of harmonies. Rather heavy handed is ‘Visibility Zero’, a moody rocker with eternal stabbing keys and some hand-claps, not to mention a brief keyboard and guitar duel which is stunning in atmosphere.
If someone came up to me and asked if I would like to be transported back to 1980, then I’d say sign me up. Couchois remind us of what an amazing time it was to be an AOR fan, with such classics as this appearing with staggering regularity. When you cannot fault an album, the results speak for themselves and ‘Nasty Hardware’ is every bit as good as many might have assumed it to be. How Couchois failed to achieve mass acceptance is another mystery, but they were in good company.
Pat and Chris Couchois, along with Messer joined Eric Burdon‘s band for a short time in the early 80’s after Couchois split, and these days Pat and Chris can be found in cover band the Birddogs, who according to their website have been described as a ‘human jukebox machine’. How unfortunate they are resigned to playing other bands hits when they recorded some tremendous music of their own. ‘Nasty Hardware’ is one to acquire, whether by lying, cheating or stealing.
Anywhere You Are
Roll The Dice
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The track ‘Roll The Dice’ was also covered by Charlie on their 1981 album ‘Good Morning America’, and also by British band Rage (ex Nutz) on their 1981 album ‘Out Of Control’. The track was written by drummer Mike Couchois.
Roll the Dice is a great track. Nice to hear the original. Another band I will be keen to have a listen to.