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Jet – Empty Handed [1981]


JET, was a band that released only one album titled “Empty Handed” on a very obscure record label. The album was very underground for a long time, until it came to prominence several years ago. The band was founded in the earlier ‘80s by guitarist Michael Smith and the powerhouse vocalist Barbara Barrow. The rest of the band consist by Danny Torroll on guitars, bassist Ricky Niez, drummer Billy Johnson and Keith Montross on keyboards.

“Empty Handed” is a rare and very good indie female AOR album, with many pomp rock influences, including catchy and well composed tunes in this style, outstanding vocals and high doses of pomp keyboards and guitars, correctly produced (Sam Lynn) and mixed.

The album opens up the incredible “Night Night Night” and personal favourite with amazing pompous keys and an ultra catchy chorus and almost unforgettable after you hear it once followed by the superb “Love Slave” where JET sounds really pompy due the swirling keyboards with a fantastic chorus and a shining vocal performance by Barrow. “Stranded In The Moonlight”,has a very heartly AOR tune penned by guitarist Michael Smith . The song later will be covered by Martee LeBow on her mini album “Crimes Of The Heart”released in 1986. Next track “Car On Fire” is a nice heavier AOR rocker, starts with wonderful out of space synths having a good chorus, loses little in substance but promised more. The uptempo AOR “Renegade” has a truly early eighties sound, feauturing in the chorus an original orchestration for this genre. Great hot guitar riffs, grandiosity keys and passionate vocals by Barrow will satisfy every pomp rock fan. “Venus And Norma Jean” is another interesting pompy tune with a semi mid tempo pace.

Strong vocals on a song not easy to sing, while on “Caribbean Snow” the band explores a new territory with a more stylized sound including a spanish guitar, which adds more variation to this good album. Barrow’s performance is really amazing and touchy in this song. “Barbed Wire” closing the album and JET return to their pompus style. Great keyboard arrangements, rippin’ guitar solos and power pipes by Barrow leave us fully satisfied. Just check the great keyboard solo at the end of the song to see the greatness of this band.

The music of JET was and still is high-class AOR and although never received much press, I highly recommended it to all AOR/pomp rock fans…

Band Members
Barbara Barrow – Vocals
Michael Smith – Guitars, vocals
Danny Torroll – Guitars
Keith Montross -Keyboards
Ricky Niez – Bass
Billy Johnson – Drums

01. Night Night Night
02. Love Slave
03. Stranded in the Moonlight
04. Car on Fire
05. Renegade
06. Venus and Norma Jean
07. Caribbean Snow
08. Barbed Wire


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Jet - Empty Handed [1981], 5.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
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