All Your Dreams & More: 1981-1984
Before she unleashed The Pandoras on an unsuspecting world in 1984, Paula Pierce was the lead guitarist/singer/songwriter in Action Now, a garage power pop band hailing from Southern California's San Gabriel Valley. With Rhino Records reissuing The Pandoras' 1986 classic 'Stop Pretending' LP on CD for the first time, there has been a revival of interest in the work of the late Paula Pierce, who died tragically of a brain aneurysm in 1991. This 27-song CD combines 13 studio tracks (12 from a French-only release in 1985, remastered from the original tapes for CD) with an entire 1981 live show from the legendary West LA club, Madame Wong's West. In all, 26 of these songs have never been on CD, 25 have never been released in the United States and there are five previously unreleased Paula Pierce-penned tunes. Of interest to fans of Peter Case (and The Plimsouls) is 'This One Chance,' which he co-wrote with Pierce in 1981. Pandoras fans will want to hear original versions of 'Stop Pretending' and 'Anyone But You.' Also appearing on this CD are reknown guitarist Chris Bagarozzi (Clawhammer, Midget Hand Job, Down By Law), Mike Lawrence (Mad Parade, Battery Life and Lucky), Scott Hillman (Battery Life) and Dennis Pash (The Leopards). Here's what the press says about the album: This includes the band's All Your Dreams album and a healthy portion of live recordings as well. Perhaps best known for lead singer Paula Pierce (who went on to form the Pandoras), Action Now also features 2/3 of the band Battery Life. There are a couple early versions of what became Pandoras songs, but mostly this disc is enjoyable for what it is: solid early-'80s punk pop. - Aiding & Abetting It's a lot more life-affirming than anything Pierce did with the Pandoras and has some moments of real joy in it, not the least of which is Pierce's lone lead vocal on the live track, 'Anyone But You'. Taken as an ultra-rare document of a beloved time in music history, it's a great peek into what it meant to be striving in an exciting scene. Pierce, along with Jim Schuster, Mike Lawrence, and Scott Hillman may sound rudimentary, but they were tight and smart, playing with plenty of passion and dexterity. They were underdogs in an underdog movement, a position almost anyone who's ever played in a band can relate to. - PopMatters The charm of the classic power poppy 'This One Chance' and the garage rock power of 'I'm Not Trying to Hurt You', to name just two fine tracks, can't be denied. These are all nicely written songs. And you also get to hear the original version of 'Stop Pretending', which Pierce later waxed with The Pandoras. There is a nifty compilation track, followed by a lot of live stuff. And here, the band really shines. - Fufkin It is really sad how many bands kind of slipped through the cracks in the early '80s, it was a time when punk ruled still, and new wave was just coming up, and for bands who played a hybrid of the two somehow just were overlooked. Action Now were one of those bands. This 4 piece played fast paced pop punk that sounds like the Buzzcocks mixed with the same American charm that the dB's and R.E.M. had early on in their careers. Please search this out if any of the above bands have a place in your heart, and I'm almost positive Action Now will have as well after just one listen. - The Bee's Knees The songs sound remarkably fresh and if the album didn't contain 1981-1984 in the title, then you would be none the wiser when the band laid down the music - the guitars throttle along, attitude is spat out in the vocals and a steady drum beat holds together the proceedings. The title track is a jaunty affair, clearly influenced by the early 80s New Wave movement, containing the same type of aura of Reckoning-period REM in the jangley guitar and pop sensibilities. Song after song fly past, the likes of 'Then And Now,' 'When Wednesday Comes' and 'This One Chance' are pop-punk in it's earliest incarnation, carried along by consistent melodies and simple yet effective hooks. The ROQ Vol III compilation track 'Try' is of similar style, yet another brisk exercise in melodic bubblegum pop-rock before the likes of Blink 182 and Good Charlotte diluted the innocence. - Alternative Rock Review Though they tended toward a power-pop version of Rezillos, in places they also prefigured the likes of Orange Juice and the whole C86 movement. As the live segment shows, they were a far more powerful proposition live, illustrated by 'See If You Can,' sounding like a chirpy, suntanned Jam. Great in it's genre. -- Logo Magazine.