search by
artist  album title  keyword
trouser press
Home
Reviews
What's New
Trouser Press Magazine
Message Board
Links
FAQ's
Merchandise
Contact Us
XML
 
 

FEAR OF STRANGERS (Buy CDs by this artist)
Fear of Strangers (Faulty Products) 1982
LONESOME VAL
Lonesome Val (Bar/None / Restless) 1990

Fear of Strangers, an Albany, New York quartet, was known as the Units until a dispute with the San Francisco band of the same name led to a new handle. Fear of Strangers mixes simple, melodic rock with clever topical lyrics (making the group an early entrant in the neo-protest revival), drawing strength from the presence of three songwriters. The music is fresh and catchy if a bit načve; Val Haynes, a strong, clear-toned vocalist showing traces of Joan Baez amid the rock stylings, provides most of the band's (and album's) character.

Going solo with a mild country twang, Haynes (and Fear of Strangers bassist Steve Cohen) relocated to New York City, where years spent working local clubs brought widespread critical acclaim and, finally, a recording contract. Lonesome Val begins with an uplifting, infectious charmer ("To Be Young") and continues with a defiant rocker ("You Won't Say You Love Me"), but the remainder of Haynes' songs plod along slowly and cautiously, lacking the exuberance that would have given them real life.

[Ira Robbins]