Punk might have flown over the Scottish band's collective head, yet the group couldn't ignore the landscape they found themselves at the start of NAZ's second decade. They could have lost their snap; instead, the ensemble engaged Jeff Baxter as a producer to smooth their hairy rock. The clue to their admission of the time's new demands lie in this album's closing track, the pounding "Turning A New Leaf", but it can be felt from the off, from their eleventh record's only true classic, "Holiday": it's contagious, humorous rock 'n' roll turns the luxury standards upside down in the same nihilistic style that punks executed. There's enough spikes in between, too, so the drive prevails over the melodies, and while cuts "Showdown At The Border" and the moderately threatening "Talkin' 'Bout Love" boast a radio-friendly chorus, they don't rattle the listener's guts.
Still, a yob's behavior is there for taking in the reggae-tinctured "Big Boy" - which is more moving in a live version among the BBC cuts added here as bonuses - and "Talkin' To One Of The Boys" that gains momentum as it goes and loses its initial polish for good. But if the vibes-adorned "Fast Cars" panders to its era's values with a horrible servility, the band's delicate core comes totally unguarded in the acoustic ballad "Heart's Grown Cold" with its uplifting gospel inflections. The posh string hardly enliven the folky flow of "Fallen Angels", yet "Ship Of Dreams" for all its gloss bubbles with energy because of Spanish sun in its riff and the flamenco solo.
The overall effect might feel strange, but that's about the way all transitions go, and NAZ came out the other side all duded up for the '80s.
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