VITAMIN Z (Buy CDs by this artist)
Rites of Passage (Geffen) 1985
Sharp Stone Rain (Geffen) 1989
On the only memorable track this wimpy Sheffield synth-rock trio can deliver on its first album, singer Geoff Barradale does an appallingly close approximation of Marc Almond; the lyrics of "Burning Flame," however, are so stupid that the comparison is insulting. A strange collection of sidemen played on Rites of Passage, including ex-Ant Chris Hughes and ex-Roxy Music guitarist Neil Hubbard, but it's a lost cause: these no-talents are dead in the water.
By the time Vitamin Z resurfaced four years later, the genre of peppy dance pop and fake soul to which they aspire had grown as unfashionable as the group. Making stylistic reference to Howard Jones and the Thompson Twins (both circa 1985), Sharp Stone Rain is a bland anachronism, its utter redundancy hammered home by an encore appearance of "Burning Flame."[Ira Robbins]
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