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CROSSFIRE CHOIR (Buy CDs by this artist)
Crossfire Choir (Passport) 1986
Back to the Wall (Track) 1988

A major American label signed this up-from-Florida New Jersey quartet but never released their album; after the band was dropped, tracks recorded in England with producer Steve Lillywhite were retrieved and issued (along with three subsequent items) as a belated debut. Although the group had built a club reputation for punky outrageousness, this is far more familiar fare: urgent pop/rock with keyboards and a hint of potential pomposity. The music isn't bad, but guitarist J Pounders' grating dramatic warble is more memorable than his songs.

Nicely produced by Ed Stasium, Back to the Wall reduces the group's weaknesses (mainly by cranking up the rhythm guitars and mixing down Pounders' voice), but still doesn't find anything particularly worthwhile in the music. A petulant chorus of "Why can't we be on MTV?" reveals the Choir's problem: more ambition than talent.

[Ira Robbins]