Pierre, Generators Move
The Plain Dealer, September 25th 1981
By Anastasia Pantsios
Transcribed by Robert Ferent
4 Cover Image

Scans:

Two singles released recently by Cleveland-area bands are of special interest because they represent not just a one-shot bid for a little recognition, but rather another step in the development of artists who are likely to do quite a bit more than they already have.

Lucky Pierre's 45 "Stetson's/Once A Child" is the bands third single, while the Generators has its second with "Temporarily Out Of Control/Summertime."

Both bands have been original-music bands from their inception, and these songs are culled from repertoires that are larger and richer than a single could possibly indicate. And both bands have been honing their acts for a long time: in the case of Lucky Pierre, more than five years.

Still, the Generators probably has an edge on Lucky Pierre in the potential-success sweepstakes. It has cleaner and more aggressive performers, and their tunes have those same qualities: they are well-crafted, quick-attacking and just a little bit offbeat.

Basically, the Generators is a pop-oriented rock band with just a touch of quirkiness - enough so that it has been tagged "new wave." which it isn't. The tunes themselves, rather than a strong or stylish image, are the cornerstone of this band's act.

"Summertime" and "Temporarily Out Of Control," both written by guitarist Mark Addison, represent two extremes of the band's style and, in a sense, aren't representative at all. "Summertime" is an easy-going, melodious tune what's much sweeter than most of what the band does, while "Temporarily Out Of Control" is hard rock, and not really the best example of the bands ability to rock out with real flair.

With the Generators' extensive repertoire and outstanding performance abilities, it almost certainly has to go a lot further.

Like the Generators, Lucky Pierre has shown dramatic growth and constant improvement over the years, both in performing and songwriting. If it has not come quite as far yet, it's because it started much further out in left field.

Lucky Pierre sprang up in the middle of the new-wave revolution that produced dozens of moderately interesting acts with limited staying power and no depth. Lucky Pierre soon demonstrated that it wasn't one of those, but it unfortunately adopted some of the movements worst attitudes and approaches. That the band outlived the flowering of the movement and continues to make artistic gains is a positive sign.

Once excessively introverted on stage, the group, fronted by Kevin McMahon, has become much less stiff and opaque, even to the point of being nearly lively on occasion. Members also have become much more confident as players.

As for the music, McMahon has a wealth of strange and wonderful ideas. He is just now beginning to come to grips with some sort of idea as to how to structure these into tunes a listener can grab hold of. He's learned so much about shaping his material since the band started that it's almost difficult to believe that the came band that produced "Fans and Cameras" (its first single) also did the new one.

Still, Lucky Pierre's biggest problem is the tendency of its tunes to evaporate under the less-than-careful, repeated listenings. The arrangements don't seem designed to pull the listener in. But with the progress the band has made so far, there's no question that it can overcome this, too, if it works on it, and becomes an accessible as well as an intriguing band.