Scandal's impact on 80's hard guitar rock has registered as a brief blip. True enough, but Warrior, the full-length release they spawned, deserves its tribute nearly twenty years after its debut. I mean, it's got that archetypal 80's rock sound, and that's what I grew up on.
The big hit from this album is of course, "The Warrior", co-written by none other than Holly Knight. A searing hard-rock, early Bryan Adams-style guitar opens this single, whose memorable chorus goes "Shooting at the walls of heartache/Bang bang, I am the warrior". Smyth is really the Amazon here in this song equating capturing someone's love to hunting. Bit unromantic, really, but then again, Smyth does have a bit of sensuous rough in her, doesn't she?
The other single, "Beat Of A Heart" is more laid back rock set by the bass and drums. Producer Mike Chapman and Holly Knight did the words and music for "Hands Tied" whose rhythm section has that steady pulsing beat reminiscent of "Every Breath You take" or "Missing You". Another "seeing an ex with another girl" type song, Smyth's (or rather the narrato's toughness reveals deep down more tender vibes: "Just remember each time you squeeze her hand, you crush my heart." She tells him further that "She may be one good reason to leave [me]/But I'm a hundred reasons to stay."
"Less Than Half" is standard 80's rock-ballad, of a couple the night after, with the tensions described vividly: "We move in circles/with our eyes on the door/saying so little/thinking much more." Yet the woman here decides to stick with the rotter: "But everything you've ever said was a lie/so pull me closer to your heart that's no good."
The cover of Journey's "Only The Young" is a straight ahead one, but it shows that Patty Smyth had as much oomph as Steve Perry in this song, and I say this when comparing her version with her solo single "Never Enough." A standout cut here, and as I was apprised of this by Eric Andrews, another bigup for him.
"All I Want" has marching steady guitar riffs and has Smyth smartly telling someone seeking thrills from the street, to stand out alone, that "But now and then you have to see/that it's only you, it's only me."
The lack of communication in "Talk To Me" exposes Smyth's vulnerable side, as she pleads with her dear one to speak to her, saying "Don't you know baby they're trying to break us up?"
"Say What You Will" is another somber breakup rock ballad, but the pace picks up with "Tonight" and "Maybe We Went Too Far", which are mid-paced closers.
Produced by Mike Chapman, best known for bringing out the heart of glass in Blondie, so to speak, and who also played a part in Tina Turner's Private Dancer, Scandal was a probing ground for Smyth until her criminally out-of-print solo album, Never Enough. Scandal's gifted in having a consistent sound which makes up for the lack of other rockers that have the same punch as "The Warrior" or some that are lyrically unmemorable. The only scandal here is that Smyth and company have been forgotten twenty years later.