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SUNNY JIM BAND (Buy CDs by this artist)
Maximum Pain (Ger. Vertigo) 1980
Jay (Ger. Vertigo) 1982

This quartet consists of two Brits, a Frenchman and a Dutchman based in Cologne who once contracted (but wound up not going) to tour Iron Curtain countries. They play tight, assured, angular rock'n'roll and reggae, with smart-enough arrangements and some above-average lyrical ideas. Unfortunately, like their melodies, the words are too often half-baked, not quite complete or satisfying.

Despite its title, the first album suffers from stiffness, as if they're unwilling to let go. The second LP, produced by Steve Nye (Roxy Music, Japan), loosens them up a bit. Although the hooks are again generally a hair short of the mark, excerpts would make an eyebrow-raising EP.

[Jim Green]