Hot Dates


Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1  (1978-82)

- Grant Clark -- drums, percussion

- Mitch Kary -- keyboard, backing vocals

- Bob Millett - lead vocals, guitar

- Jeff Root -- vocals, bass

- Sam Simcoe -- lead guitar, backing vocals

 

 

 

 

- The Flair Band (Jeff Root)

- Gone By Sunrise (Mitch Kary)

- Jeff Root (solo efforts)

 


 

Genre: power pop

Rating: 4 stars ****

Title:  Hot Dates

Company: Boston Skyline

Catalog:  BS 1201
Year:
 1981

Country/State: Boston, Massachusetts

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 3370

Price: $50.00

Hot Dates are one of a legion of late-'70s/early-'80s Boston bands that should have enjoyed tat least some of the critical and commercial success contemporaries like The Cars and Pere Ubu enjoyed.  Obviously it didn't happen ...

 

Featuring drummer Grant Clark, keyboardist Mitch Kary,  guitarists Bob Millett and Sam Simcoe, and singer/bassist Jeff Root, by 1978 the band had become regulars on Boston's club circuit,  regularly playing  Cartone's, The Club, and The Rathskellar.

 

 

They debuted with an instantly obscure single that seemed to be channeling early Beatles through a CBGB's inspired bender.  Good tune with Millet sounding like he was about to shred his vocal chords.

 

 1978's 'I Can't Stay' b/w 'Just Let Me Love You'  (Cooking Records catalog number SB 4513A/B)

 

 

 

 

Released by the small Boston Sklyline label, 1981's "Hot Dates" found the band having dropped most of their earlier punk raggedness and angst in favor of a more commercial power-pop orientation.  Featured ten Millet-Root originals, the album was recorded at Boston's Studio B with Wayne Wadham producing.  Maybe due to the fact the early-'80s marked my college years, I've retained a fondness for bands that straddled the lines between new wave and power pop.  Exemplified by material like 'I Must Fight', 'Shut Up', and 'Moonlighter' these guys were prime practitioners of the genre.  Bleached hair, wife-beater tee shirts, skinny ties, herky-jerky rhythms (''Til She Goe'), these guys had it all in their repertoire.  There really wasn't a bad song on the album with several reflecting considerable commercial potential.  Fun album from start to finish.  Shame they didn't get an opportunity to record a follow-on.

 

"Hot Dates" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) The Heart of You   (Bob Millett - Jeff Root)  - 2:55   rating: **** stars

Complete with what sounded like a farfisa organ solo, 'Heart of You' was a glistening slice of power-pop that should have sent top-40 radio stations into heavy rotation.  Should've, could've, might have ...

2,) I Must Fight   (Bob Millett - Jeff Root) - 3:47   rating: **** stars

'I Must Fight' tamped down the power-pop influences for a tougher sound.  They were still highly commercial, with just a touch of Springsteen blue collar authenticity and AC/DC soccer hooliganism in the mix.  Not sure if Millet, of Simcoe provided it, but the song featured a killer guitar solo.

3.) The Thrill I Need  (Bob Millett - Jeff Root) - 2:45   rating: *** stars

With Millett throwing in an odd, almost reggae-ish bass line, 'The Thrill I Need' sounded like they were trying a little too hard for commercial success.  

4.) Since You've Gone Away   (Bob Millett - Jeff Root) - 3:17   rating: **** stars

Power-pop the way it was meant to be recorded - taunt and energetic,  Another should've been 45.

 

(side 2)

1.) Tune Into Me   (Bob Millett - Jeff Root) - 2:31   rating: *** stars

 

Opening up side two, 'Tune Into Me' as always reminded me a bit of The Hooters.  That might not be a great thing depending on what you think of that band ...  The song was also tapped as a single:

 

1980's 'Tune Into Me' b/w 'Do You Want Me' (Boston Skyline catalog number BS 4501)  

 

Neither the sound, or video quality are great, but YouTube has a clip of the band performing the tune on the Boston Live television program: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CN9RDZLEyw 

 

 

2.) Do You Want Me   (Bob Millett - Jeff Root) - 2:54   rating: **** stars

'Do You Want Me' offered up another slice of shimmering, radio-ready power-pop.  Always loved Kary's cheesy synthesizer solo.

3.) Shut Up   (Bob Millett - Jeff Root) - 3:00   rating: **** stars

'Shut Up' always makes me smile - imagine a really talented band trying to dumb down and punk-up their sound.  Actually, imagine The Cars with a really punk edge to their sound, or maybe Joan Jett with a male lead singer.  Awesome tune; perhaps my pick for the album's standout performance.

4.) Moonlighter   (Bob Millett - Jeff Root) - 2:55   rating: **** stars

I have to scratch my head in wonder when I hear 'Moonlighter'.  This one had everything you'd expect to hear in a top-10 single - great melody, sweet vocals, sticky hook, and the requisite lead guitar solo.

5.) 'Til She Goes   (Bob Millett - Jeff Root) - 2:32   rating: *** stars

A little more FM oriented than some of the other tunes, ''Till She Goes' exhibited some surprisingly nice vocals and a ripping guitar Millett solo.  The same YouTube clip referenced above has a performance of this one.  It starts at the 2:37 mark: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CN9RDZLEyw 

 

 

 

 

 

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