• Zones
  • Under Influence (UK Arista) 1979 

This offshoot of Midge Ure’s pre-Rich Kids Scottish pop outfit, Slik, had strong players, two of whom — guitarist Willy Gardner and keyboardist Billy McIsaac — wrote good songs and one of whom (Gardner) had an attractive if limited vocal style, like a young hybrid of Mick Ronson and Dave Edmunds. But what to do with it all? Pop? Hard stuff? Commercial new wave? Reggae-pop? The Zones try a little of everything on Under Influence without any forceful, unifying personality, despite passing nods to Mott and the Skids (which two Zones later joined). No bad cuts, but only one rises from enjoyable to exciting.

[Jim Green]