Mission Immersion 12.0 – Rave On by Artful Dodger

Ariola America Records 1980

Artful Dodger’s story is like that of so many other power pop bands – they made really good music, sometimes of the classic caliber, but their overall indistinctness kept them from ever catching the attention of the public eye. Aside from the fact that they received apathetic or misguided promotion for all four of their releases, there was nothing very edgy or original about these guys. They sound like a glossier, watered-down version of the Faces, which is meant as kind of a backwards compliment.

AD’s final album, Rave On, boasts a confidence and coherence the band had been striving for since day one. Sadly, it came at the price of founding member and contributing songwriter Gary Cox, who left the group prior to this release after a series of disputes over marketing issues. Remaining songwriters Gary Herrewig and Billy Paliselli cover his tracks pretty well, but Rave On still feels incomplete somehow. Despite how solid all ten tracks are, none of them are as good as the band’s most praised classic, Herrewig and Paliselli’s “Wayside”, the first song on their first album. “She’s Just My Baby” and “A Girl (La La La)” come pretty close, but there’s an awesomely gritty quality to “Wayside” they never really achieved again. It may be a case of a band peaking extremely early, but nothing that followed in the band’s career was bad by any means. Rave On, too, is chocked full of gems with vintage riffs and and sweet power pop hooks. It just doesn’t quite reach that high. ***

Listening Again? Yes.

…and here is “Wayside”, just to get an idea…

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