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Honor Among Thieves

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Album Review

Artful Dodger is a classic example of a great band who arrived at the wrong time — in this case, they were caught in the mid-'70s crossroads, between the power pop of the Raspberries and the crunching rock of Cheap Trick, whose producer Jack Douglas helmed Artful Dodger's debut as well as Honor Among Thieves, their excellent second album. Sonically, Artful Dodger falls between the Raspberries and Cheap Trick — they have guitars and jangle and melodies that evoke the Beatles — but to call them pop almost seems dismissive, to ignore that Honor Among Thieves is a heavy rock & roll record, an album where the power chords outweigh the power pop. That's not to downplay the songwriting of guitarist Gary Herrewig and vocalist Billy Paliselli, the two members who write the bulk of the album (rhythm guitarist Gary Cox contributes two numbers, including the nicely spacy "Dandelion" where he takes lead vocals): they write muscular, insistent pop songs where the riffs are as memorable as the melodies, songs hooky enough that it's easy to see why Artful Dodger is tagged as power pop. But what makes Honor Among Thieves a lost '70s classic is that it works as a rock & roll record — it's a rush of pure addictive sound, one that captures the sound and feel of its era, but transcends it just because it rocks so hard.


Formed: Fairfax, VA

Genre: Dance

Years Active: '70s, '80s

Hailing from Virginia, Artful Dodger was a tuneful working-man's band that had a brief run of success in the late '70s. In classic power pop style, the group combined hard-driving electric guitars with catchy arrangements and harmonies. But where the Raspberries emphasized balladry and romanticism, and Big Star had both that plus lyricism, Artful Dodger put its stock in straight-ahead guitar energy and high-end vocalizing. Lead singer Bill Paliselli provided the latter, with Gary Herrewig and Gary...
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Honor Among Thieves, Artful Dodger
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