Pretty Maids - Jump The Gun
Columbia
Melodic Rock / Metal
12 songs ()
Release year: 1990
Pretty Maids
Reviewed by Ben
Archive review

For every person that listens to music and has an opinion there are a handful of bands that are endowed with the tagline “criminally underrated.” Yours truly feels that this Danish outfit truly exemplifies the statement “most unappreciated band of the last twenty frickin’ years.” Ever since the debut self titled EP Pretty Maids has released albums that fall under three categories: classic platters of hard rock / metal, bad assery, and finally "if it was anyone else this would be their career highlight." Well, maybe you can discount Planet Panic from that trio of descriptions but you see my point. Jump The Gun (titled Lethal Heroes in the US for some odd reason that I do not know of) is the band’s first release of a brand new decade in 1990 and is firmly planted in the realm of simple bad assery. Juvenile adjectives aside this is one of Pretty Maid’s most solid albums of the nineties yet it is just shy of the legendary status that Red Hot And Heavy and Future World both hold. This is due in part to the long time spent between Future World and Jump The Gun, the three years that passed were critical in the timing of the band’s never to be had international success. If this had been released while Pretty Maids were riding the modest wave of success that Future World brought them they could have capitalized on their popularity because the songs on here rock hard. They rock so much that I come back to this album on quite a consistent basis, moreso than I do even modern releases heralded with much praise such as Ecliptica or Glory To The Brave.

For the uninformed, Pretty Maids are a classy Melodic Rock band that had a few flirtations with Power Metal early in their career. On this their third album whatever leanings into the land of battle and majesty the guys had are cut loose being replaced with socially conscious issues and personal relationship songs. The song writing team of vocalist Ronnie Atkins and guitarist Ken Hammer is one that should be the envy of every up and coming composer out there. Ronnie has the ability to emote with his voice so distinctly and perfectly that his voice is instantly recognizable and welcomed. Ken therefore fashions the memorable riffs and arrangements that make up the four minute musical jewels that adorn their career. Long time running mate Alan Owens uses his keyboards in exactly the right way that this music needs. He dots the landscape of these twelve songs with the right amount of added flair so as to set the precedent that yes you can use keyboards without sounding too much like 1988 era Bon Jovi. A good example of this would be Over And Out where he uses correct amount of effects on an otherwise simple song to make it a definite killer. Don’t Settle For Less is a mid tempo rock anthem about pining away in lust rather than settling for “no” as an answer and the vocal harmonies are humongous. Partners In Crime feels like this songs little brother when it comes into play six tracks later. Similar lyrical content and a similar choral climactic wash near the end when it’s just Ronnie singing the refrain. Despite my undying allegiance to these two numbers it is the single Savage Heart that the band continue to play even today live. Seemingly taking the role of Yellow Rain pt II, Savage Heart is a pseudo ballad with bite about a solider in war. This is about as soft as it gets on Jump The Gun so I guess I can see why it was the “hit” single and the song most remembered by the handful of critics that claim it as a classic. Ronnie delivers the goods vocally with an emotionally packed performance and is even accompanied by some soulful female vocals at the conclusion.

Following the release of Jump The Gun the lineup for Pretty Maids dissolved leaving only Ken and Ronnie to scramble and find new musical partners to take on the world with. Alan Owen would step in from time to time to contribute but due to his ailing health (he’s basically blind!) he would never be a full fledged member of the band again. Sin Decade was released a year later and it is there where I will pick up the career history of this wonderful and “criminally underrated” band…

Killing Songs :
Don't Settle For Less, Partners In Crime, Over And Out, Young Blood
Ben quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by Pretty Maids that we have reviewed:
Pretty Maids - Louder Than Ever reviewed by Chris and quoted 84 / 100
Pretty Maids - Motherland reviewed by Chris and quoted 100 / 100
Pretty Maids - Pandemonium reviewed by Chris and quoted 92 / 100
Pretty Maids - Scream reviewed by Ben and quoted 76 / 100
Pretty Maids - Wake Up To The Real World reviewed by Mike and quoted 90 / 100
To see all 12 reviews click here
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