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EASTERN BLOC (Buy CDs by this artist)
Wall to Wall EP (Chetnick) 1986
Eastern Bloc (Paradox/Passport) 1987

These three New York scene veterans — bassist Ivan Kral, guitarist Mark Sidgwick and drummer Frankie LaRocka — have individually backed the likes of Patti Smith, Iggy Pop, David Johansen, Holly Vincent, Tim Scott and John Waite. Their own band's album, while not exactly a groundbreaker, is a thoroughly respectable melodic rock collection that reflects the years they've spent in the trenches. Sidgwick has a pleasant if limited voice and his guitar playing is both fiery and flexible; the rhythm section is dexterous and inventive. A Pink Floyd-speed version of Kral's estimable 1979 Smith collaboration, "Dancing Barefoot," is odd enough to work; the Sidgwick/Kral originals could use smarter lyrics, but don't want for hooks or commercial craft.

[Ira Robbins]
   See also Holly and the Italians, David Johansen, Patti Smith