Fickle Heart

by: Sniff 'n' the Tears

The British band Sniff 'n' the Tears' 1978 debut, Fickle Heart, is best known for containing the relentlessly catchy rocker "Driver's Seat," which became a hit in 1979 and is simply one of the greatest "one-hit wonder" singles of that decade, and arguably of all time. Killer keyboard and synthesizer riffs by Alan Fealdman and guest Keith Miller, piercing electric guitars by Loz Netto and Mick Dyche, solid bass by Chris Birkin, steady drums by producer Luigi Salvoni, and bandleader/songwriter Paul Roberts' incessant acoustic rhythm guitar and dramatic lead vocals are all terrific individually, but they add up to a fantastic whole. "Driver's Seat" is the leadoff track on Fickle Heart and, while it's hard to follow up a classic tune, the album does have some other good songs that are also strong, melodic rock. Sniff 'n' the Tears is sometimes classified as a new wave band, but that's not really accurate. The occasional synthesizer bits spice up Sniff 'n' the Tears' music, but they don't dominate it. "New Lines on Love" and "This Side of the Blue Horizon" are both richly textured with various keyboards and guitars. "The Thrill of It All" has a dark and mysterious feel due to Roberts' sly vocal style. "Looking for You" isn't as brooding, and the warm keyboard solos are enjoyable. Roberts, an accomplished painter, created the lifelike, photograph-quality cover painting for Fickle Heart and the band's subsequent albums. However, Roberts dissolved the Fickle Heart lineup and formed an entirely new version of Sniff 'n' the Tears for 1980's The Game's Up. ~ Bret Adams

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