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RAISE THE DRAGON (Buy CDs by this artist)
Deliverance EP (IRS) 1984
INTIMATE STRANGERS
Charm (IRS) 1986

At his smoothest, Raise the Dragon's Richard Spellman sings like a debonair blend of David Bowie and Bryan Ferry (loud, his voice is quite less appealing); Sean Lyons provides attractive, fragile guitar threads. With backing from five sessionmen, including ex-Rumour bassist Andrew Bodnar, and production by Art of Noise's Anne Dudley, the crafty pair spin both lovely, melodic tunes ("The Blue Hour") and tedious light dance-rockers ("Deliverance" and "Raise the Dragon") on Deliverance. But an ill-advised cover of "Hold On (I'm Coming)" is laughable.

Returning two years later as Intimate Strangers, Spellman and Lyons released Charm, which contains two remixes and one peppy re-recording of their first EP's best songs plus seven new creations in roughly the same plangent dance vein. Nicely done, but easily forgotten.

[Ira Robbins]