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Hush – If You Smile [1998]

Country Norway          

Style AOR

Rating 84/100

Band Members Janne Titz – Bass, Kenneth Kristiansen – Guitar, Keyboards, Patrick Simonsen – Vocals, Guitars, Rod Tuttle – Drums

Tracks 01. Talk To Me, 02. Babe, 03. Believe, 04. Piece Of The Action, 05. Let It Rain, 06. This Side Of Love, 07. Heaven Ain’t, 08. Big Time, 09. Sometimes, 10. G & B, 11. If (Butterfly) (Bonus Track), 12. This Side Of Love (Acoustic) (Japan Bonus Track)

Profile Hush are Norwegian and their debut, album released only in Japan though it is now available throughout Europe. The name also has to be confusing in the context of Robert Berry’s old band.

With only lesser preconceptions in my mind I gave the first track “Talk to Me” a chance. Almost surprisingly (!) they sound extremely like the better side of their Norwegian compatriots the Stage Dolls (around the “Commandos” album) and have some hints of TNT and DaVinci too. Very much a guitar-drive power AOR sound, with the production reasonable and big hooks. Overall the mix emphasizes a big (and at times make that very big!) guitar sound, the drums could be a bit more up front and the vocals feel slightly dry. This has got all the qualities of some of the best Scandinavian AOR of the late 1980s, and to a degree it feels like Hush have either mastered time-travel or have been in a minor Nordic microcosm and its still 1987 or 1988 to them.

“Babe” and “Believe” are up next and are not even slightly original. The lyrics are also the sort of trifling jabber that only Scandinavian bands can come up with. But, somehow they get away it! “Piece of the Action”, although it’s still close to TNT, sees the guitar sounds varied in a more complex song structure and is significantly more fresh and original. The original moments are few and far between overall, and a truely wearisome song like “Big Times” is a real abject point.

Overall, despite how derivative the band’s song writing is, somehow they get away with it, and the album is actually enjoyable if you embrace its ground rules. Put a copyright date of 1988 and change the band name to Stage Dolls and you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference, but fans of that period and bands of that ilk will find a good deal of pleasure here.

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Hush - If You Smile [1998], 9.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
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