Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Nona Hendryx - The Art of Defense

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of The Art of Defense, the third studio album from Nona Hendryx. It spent seven weeks on the US Billboard Album chart in 1984, peaking at number 167.

Side one starts with "I Sweat (Going Through the Motions)", a high energy dance jam with a sweet blend of synths and percussion. It also appeared on the soundtrack of the 1985 movie Perfect starring John Travolta and Jamie Lee Curtis.

The steady, mid-tempo "Soft Targets" is up next. It has an aura of mystery and danger to it. The opening guitar and percussion of "The Life" reminds me a little bit of "Nasty Girl" by Vanity 6.

Side two begins with "To The Bone", a funky groove about a betrayal of love that cut deep.

"Electricity" is a low-key jam that takes its time to infuse you. Even the guitar solo, which smolders, stays within a tight range rather than going overboard. I think that all makes for a more intriguing cut.

"Ghost Love" reflects upon a relationship that lacks substance. With just a few tweaks, it could easily have been a jazz number; I would like to hear that kind of take on it.

The original vinyl release closes with "I Want You". I like the prominence that the piano gets in this dance track; it is nice to hear that in music from a time period where synthesizers tended to dominant club tracks.

Like a lot of her catalog, The Art of Defense is a tough one to track down. There was a 2012 CD release though that includes six bonus remixes. Thanks again to the YouTube community for giving me some place to give it a listen to it online for the review. It was my first exposure to the record, and I instantly liked it from start to finish. This was exactly the kind of dance music I was into during my college days in the mid-80's. As with her previous album Nona (click here), this is one I definitely will be adding to my to-buy list.

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