Eastern Bloc

  • Eastern Bloc
  • 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