(As published in the Illinois Entertainer ... ) Shaw/Blades Hallucination (Warner Bros.) Shaw is Tommy and Blades is Jack, and with Michael Cartellone on drums for three tracks and Ted Nugent gone huntin', Hallucination could almost pass for Damn Yankees Unplugged--except it sounds nothing like Damn Yankees. With dovetailing, reverb-free vocals that soar higher than the Eagles' and acoustic-guitar work to match, these eleven songs duck arena-scale pyrotechnics in favor of a campfire intimacy you don't have to be a Boy Scout to enjoy. The lyrics hold up too, what with the political cleverness of the title track ("We paid the price in Viet Nam / while crosses burned in Birmingham, / in Memphis now the church bells ring / while L.A. crowns a different King") and sober, cliché-free observations that make it sound as if life really might begin at forty ("The Night Goes On").
Held together by a mixture of inspired near-plagiarism (second-hand Tom Petty and Beatles haunt several cuts) and plain, old-fashioned attention to detail, Hallucination is a loose, gently rocking, stripped-down gem that proves no frills doesn't have to mean no thrills.
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