Originally Published: November 04, 1982
Author: Dave Dickson
Zipper catches Skin
(Warner Bros. Records K57021)
"Ouch," Alice seems to whimper from the back cover; "ouch," thought I listening to this. Alice is not a healthy man as the last couple of albums have shown and this doesn't do much to convince me he's getting any better. Believe me, Alice, it pains me to write this, I really wanted to love this album to death.
You remember in 'Sunset Boulevard' how Gloria Swanson shut herself off from the world to watch old movies and answer the fan mail sent by her manservant? Well, in the ivory tower Alice has constructed over Beverly Hills he has a huge video screen that spews out movies all day long. I counted at least six film titles that were either directly named or infered on 'Zipper Catches Skin' and even then I probably missed some.
So what went wrong? Difficult, but even the return to the fold of Dick Wagner as composer and performer doesn't seem to have rescued Alice from the mire. It's horribly indicative, I think, that the albums best cut 'I Am The Future', the one most reminiscent of Alice at his psychotic best, was written by Lalo Schifrin as part of a movie soundtrack.
Side two picks up with 'I Like Girls/Remarkably Insincere', wherein Alice injects some sharp humour courtesy of Patty Donahue, credited with 'vocals and sarcasm'. And the last three tracks all show flashes of former glories struggling to get through, but there's something pulling them back at the last moment.
I suspect Vincent Furnier has lost all control over the monster that is Alice, and, unleashed, the creature appears to be floundering aimlessly without much idea how to use his freedom. A return to 'The Inside', Vincent, would probably do you and Alice the world of good.