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Back in 1980, NYC quartet Sorrows put out a record called Teenage Heartbreak on the CBS-related label Pavillion that has gone on to be a minor classic for the power pop faithful. But when the band attempted to make album #2, label and producer Shel Talmy decided to tinker with the group’s tried-and-true formula (hooky tunes + three-part vocals + punk rock energy) and slather their efforts with synths, backup singers and session players, rendering 1981’s Love Too Late unrecognizable to both the band and their audience. Forty years on, original members and singer/songwriters Arthur Alexander, Joey Cola and Rick Street reconvened with new drummer Luis Herrera to re-work and re-record the album the way they intended it to be heard.
Good for them – stripped of extra fripperies down to the original guitars/bass/drums arrangements and sung by the writers, these songs go from solid to spectacular. “So Much Love,” “Christabelle,” the furiously rocking “Street Punk Blues,” the layered “Breaking My Heart (Over You),” the cheeky “Play This Song (On the Radio)” and a great cover of the Kinks’ “Tired of Waiting For You” practically leap out of the speakers in a frenzy of hooks and harmonies, reasserting the strength of the template set by the Beatles, Badfinger, the Plimsouls and their siblings in melody. Four decades after the first attempt, Sorrows release their masterpiece.
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