Roughhouse – “Roughhouse” (1988)

These Pennsylvania glam-bots were once known as Teeze.  They released two albums under the Teeze moniker.  As of the time of this review, I have yet to hear either of the two Teeze albums, though this hilarious cover has certainly got my attention!

Anywayz, by 1988 Teeze had become Roughouse and they were on the roster of a major label (CBS Records).  They were ready to throw their hat into the lucrative “hair metal” ring.  Hopes of becoming MTV darlings surely danced in their hair-sprayed heads.  But it was not to be for Roughhouse.  The nondescript album cover was the first crucial mistake made.  The songs were the second.  Though the band was in possession of a strong vocalist in Luis Rivera (one who, and I am not the first to say this, sounded a bit like Vince Neil), the songs were too well-behaved to stand out.  Tepid, cliché lyrics didn’t help either.  With Rivera’s sleazy Vince Neil-like voice, Roughhouse would have been better served with a looser sound — one with more strut and swagger to match Rivera’s style.  Producer Max Norman (one of my favorite producers) didn’t do the band any favors either.  The usually brilliant Norman was uncharacteristically off his game on Roughhouse.  The blame for the stiff drum sound, the lame backing vocals, and the overall lack of warmth of Roughhouse has to fall, at least partially, on Norman’s shoulders.  This is not a terrible album, but I think the band and Norman should have tried to go a little less corporate and a little more sleaze.  Standout cut: Can’t Find Love.  My score: C+


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