Review: “Liquid Heat” by Liquid Heat (Vinyl, 1986)

Today’s POP RESCUE from an uncertain fate, is the 1986 eponymous debut album Liquid Heat by American duo Liquid Heat. Will this album warm your heart, or will it cause a nasty burn? Read on…

Liquid Heat - Liquid Heat (1986) album.
Liquid Heat – Liquid Heat (1986) album.

The 10 track LP opens with the album’s only single Dr. Please, loaded with playful vocals and tons of synths resulting in a pretty bouncy pop song, and so it’s hard to think why this failed for them. It was released in 1986, and it’s got all the sounds that you’d expect in a mid-80’s pop chart success. Linda Holland and Leslie Cole both show off some great vocals as they flitter around the track, reminding me a little at times of the Pointer Sisters. Sadly though, it failed to chart.

Can’t Shake You Loose is next, opening with a ton of drum fills, that sound like someone’s leant on my old Casio keyboard. Whilst there’s plenty of synth bursts here, and repetitive vocals, this is a much more mellow song from the previous track. The vocals here are a in quite a high register, but they flow effortlessly alongside the drum filled track. The track stood as the b-side to Dr. Please.

That’s followed by Face To Face, and I could easily imagine this track having been recorded by Five Star and it’s a great little pop song. I also like its inclusion of a dialling sound and a phone call to a somewhat indecisive bloke who’s given a clear demand by the ladies to make up his mind. I could imagine this song being a single, and faring quite well, but sadly that didn’t happen.

Then it’s Special Love, which is a more mellow love song, and the chorus works really well, allowing the ladies to show of some really nice soft and warm vocal harmonies. It’s a tender heartfelt song, aptly so given it’s about a special love (which is repeated quite a lot), but it doesn’t particular evolve very much.

I Love Only You follows that, and we’re definitely into an even lower plodding tempo ballad. This time we have quite a dreamy sounding sound with a simple beat and keyboard. Here though, the ladies get to show off there vocals perfectly, and they sound great, and compliment each other in the harmonies nicely. As expected on this love laden ballad, they’re joined by some obligatory 80’s saxophone. As the track heads towards the end, there’s some bursts of synths that sound like something from a dramatic moment of a 1984 episode of Dr Who. It’s a good choice of closing song for this first side of the LP.

Side Two opens with a dramatic piano intro of Show Me The Way To Love, but then that gives away to the vocals (not sure if this is Linda or Leslie here), who manages to match the intermittent drama and slightly foreboding strings that underscore her. The song builds nicely to give both plenty of space to show off their vocals in the chorus before returning to its mid-tempo ballad style.

The tempo lifts for next song Caught Up In The Magic, and we’re transported back to the exciting sounds last heard in Dr. Please. The percussion, guitars, synths and even the vocals do gymnastics here, but not too much to detract from the structure of the song, and the track successfully moves from verse to chorus and back again. There’s even lots of times when the vocals get to show off their range nicely. This really should have been a single.

I’m So Hot follows this, and we’re returned to another up-beat song, but whilst the ladies sing about stepping out of time, it does mean that this track is a bit disorientating and hard to keep up with. It is sort of a fun track.

Next is I Can’t Keep Pretending, and we’re treated to a nice mid-tempo love song. There’s a nice bass which nudges along the shuffling light beats giving it a very relaxing sound. This allows the vocals to shine here, and they sound lovely in the vocal harmonies of the chorus, as the keyboards give them lots of room on the mic to flood your ears.

The album closes with Electric, which as you might expect, injects a burst of excitement and speed in the album’s closing minutes. This sounds like another moment where the Pointer Sisters or Five Star influenced the sound. The bouncing synths, bass, and an electric guitar chugs it along (the latter getting a nice roaring solo), over a stadium-like beat. This burst of electric energy seems to fuel the vocals too as the ladies seem to use this as the opportunity to show off their power and range, albeit briefly. It’s a nice bright ending to the album.

Liquid Heat’s lead single ‘Dr. Please’ (1986)


Over all, this album is a nice collection of mid-80’s songs but there’s not quite enough energy here to call it Liquid Heat.

When I received this LP, it was still sealed in its cellophane 34 years after its release. That seemed a little odd, considering that it is produced by, and has 6 songs co-written by Brian and Edward Holland – 2/3rds of the legendary Motown songwriting trio Holland/Dozier/Holland responsible for some of the biggest and musically significant recordings ever. I knew then that this had to be reviewed, and was curious at how it had been left unplayed with such music royalty behind it!

Amongst these songs, there are highlights, and they are commonly the songs that include the involvement of Brian and Edward on songwriting duties – these are led by Caught Up In The Magic (which really should have been a single), but are closely followed by Dr. Please and Show Me The Way To Love. Electric is also quite a nice song, and a great burst of energy for those who make it to the end. I’m So Hot is sadly lukewarm at best, as its disorientating beats make it hard to get into, and Special Love seems to be a song formed from very little and stretched out for a few minutes.

The album’s lack of power and energy might be down to production, or it might be that the vocals just hadn’t got the power to really belt out a big hit. Either way, there is very very little information online about the duo in order to comment on their abilities with authority, apart from, and one other article (as I write) which is curious of their disappearance.

It’s nice enough, but that’s about all you can say.

Rated 3 stars! It's a nice album.
  • POP RESCUE 2023 RATING: 3 / 5
  • 1986 UK ALBUM CHART PEAK: Not released in the UK.
  • POP RESCUE COST: £5.99 from a seller.

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