Forgotten series: Girl – Sheer Greed (1980)

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Often, when we do a Forgotten Series item on Something Else! Reviews, it focuses on an overlooked record from a band that most everyone is familiar with. This one may fit the title a little better, though there are a few guys in the band you might know. Girl was the androgynous early-1980s outfit of singer Phil Lewis, who made his name in ’80s sleaze rockers L.A. Guns, and guitarist Phil Collen, who later joined Def Leppard.

I discovered Girl through Lillian Axe’s cover of the song “My Number” on their 1990 album Love and War. For a long time, I thought it was an Axe original. When I learned that it wasn’t, I found Girl’s Sheer Greed. With all due respect to this band, I still think Lillian Axe’s is the superior version of the song, as the original is a bit lethargic and too steeped in Cars-like new wave rock for the subject matter.

There are a couple of tracks on this record that follow that sound – “Passing Clouds” with its Police-style reggae sound and the lolling “Strawberries” – but those are by far the weaker tunes. The rest of the record draws on the 1970s glam rock of bands like the New York Dolls and T-Rex, and maybe a little punk.

Start off with the ripping opening track “Hollywood Tease,” which rocks with the intensity of Kiss’ heaviest 1970s material, but also has that air of something a little more artsy. It’s probably the best song on the record, but followed closely by the straight-up hard rocker “Doctor Doctor,” a fist-pumping, head-bobbing affair that has a little more of Kiss than the glam bands. Oddly, with the influence so obvious on the two best songs on the record, probably the weakest number is their cover of Kiss’ “Do You Love Me?” It completely fails to capture the sleazy mood of the original.

“Little Miss Ann” has a great groove and sounds a little more like something that Lewis’ later band L.A. Guns would have done later in the decade. In fact, at moments, the song sounds like a maybe a forerunner of Poison, but with a lot more 1970s cool to it.

“Take Me Dancing” opens with a very Van Halen-esque riff, and shows some Stones influence, which crops up again on “The Things You Say,” a slower number with a little bit of a blues feel. “What’s Up” features some punk riffing and great energy, and then has this strange, jazz-influenced breakdown and guitar solo in the middle. It’s surprising, but cool, too.

Sheer Greed is very much a record of its time period. Hearing it with no knowledge of the band, you’d instantly peg it as an early-1980s recording. That said, a lot of the songs still hold up, and it’s kind of a shame that the record and the band have been mostly forgotten.

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Fred Phillips

Fred Phillips

Fred Phillips is a veteran entertainment writer with a love of hard rock and heavy metal. He has written music reviews, columns and feature stories for several newspapers, Web sites and a national wire service, while running a stand-alone site called Hall of the Mountain King in various places and incarnations since 1997. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelse reviews.com.
Fred Phillips

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