Saigon Kick

3rd Stone/Atlantic, 1993


REVIEW BY: Pete Crigler


After the success of 1992’s The Lizard and its smash ballad “Love Is On the Way,” Saigon Kick underwent some changes. Vocalist Matt Kramer and bassist Tom DeFile had both quit amidst a sea of animosity. In came new bassist Chris McLernon, and guitarist Jason Bieler became the sole singer/songwriter/producer. With that, the band’s musical personality began to shift away from the heavy eclecticism that sparked their first two discs.

Opener “One Step Closer” is one of the band’s heaviest tracks and is still one of their absolute best. Bieler’s vocals sound great, and musically, the band is as strong as they were on their first album. Unfortunately, the rest of the album does not entirely follow this righteous path.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

All of “Water” has an electronic type of feel to it that feels out of place and leaves the listener really scratching their heads, wondering ‘what the hell am I listening to?’ The cover of “Space Oddity” is just bizarre and there’s really no reason for it to be here; in essence, it would’ve been better suited as a B-side. “Fields Of Rape” is interesting because it was intended to be the original album title, which explains the confusing cover art. The song feels a bit like a ballad, but it is so weird and almost a bit unsettling, at least to me.

“I Love You” was the disc’s first single, and just like “All I Want” from their previous album, it is a saccharine, schmaltzy ballad designed to win over the housewives. “The Way” drags on a bit too long, feeling a bit slow and not really going anywhere. “On And On,” however, is a standout. It’s a bit poppier than other material, but the musicianship is really good and gives the song a bit of extra punch.

Towards the end, the band gets a little weird – the orchestra and piano on “When You Were Mine,” the jazz riffing of “Sentimental Girl,” the almost baroque arrangement of “Close To You” – this is not the band you remember from that first disc and this is what caused the fanbase to drift away to grunge and the like.

This was the end of the line for the major label years for Saigon Kick. They continued on for a few more years, but were never able to recapture the success of The Lizard. But for folks like me, they’ll always be a band that took chances and did whatever they wanted. Honestly, if it wasn’t for “On and On” and “One Step Closer,” this record would’ve been a total washout, but thank God, it wasn’t.

Rating: C

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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