Picks and Pans Review: Voa

updated 09/03/1984 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/03/1984 01:00AM

Sammy Hagar

A throwback hard rocker whose vocal style is just a whisper this side of a screech, Hagar, 35, isn't kidding with that title. Maybe his image is not exactly that of a Boy Scout but VOA, while it doesn't literally stand for Voice of America, is either a rampaging piece of chauvinism or a cleverly disguised send-up of same ("Just tell your friend, the USSR/We're goin' to crash that party/If they go too far...We've got 50 million rockers/And we're all on call"). The less jingoistically inclined might prefer I Can't Drive 55, a nicely turned crash rocker about rebellion, or Two Sides of Love, which is as close to a ballad as Sammy is ever likely to get. Nobody in his right mind would enjoy the sleazy, bad joke Dick in the Dirt. As a songwriter, Hagar manages to slip an occasional note or two in amid the cacophony, and his drummer, David Lauser, is a driving force, charged up and resourceful. He keeps things moving along throbbingly when Hagar runs out of ideas. Formerly a lead singer for Montrose and more recently a partner in a rock quartet including Neil Schon, Kenny Aaronson and Michael Shrieve, Hagar does touch a lot of bases in a sometimes heavy-footed way. There's something on this album for, if not everyone, at least those rock fans who don't demand a whole lot of subtlety. (Geffen)

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