Lightning doesnâ€™t usually strike twice. So itâ€™s no surprise that when rock impresario Kim FowleyÂÂ tried to replicate the success of his all-girl band The Runaways with another all-girl ensemble, the results fizzled instead of sizzled.
Thatâ€™s a shame because the group in question, The Orchids, released a pretty good album in 1980. The self-titled release eschews The Runaways overdrive sound in favor of girl-group melodicism and snappy new wave tempos. Producer Fowley (who also takes credit as â€œdirectorâ€Â) wrote or co-wrote almost all the songs on this LP, and while there are no flashes of brilliance, itâ€™s consistently listenable and enjoyable.
Lead vocalist Jan King (not the author of the same name!) shows a lot of range, coasting through the ballads, rockers and mid-tempo numbers with ease.
A few years after The Orchids came and went, several all-women bands like The Go-Go's and The Bangles reaped lots of commercial success with similar sounds.
The Orchids LP doesnâ€™t touch the best work of either of those bands, but is definitely worth hearing, especially if youâ€™re a fan ofÂÂ obscure new wave acts.
The Orchids was released on MCA Records as MCA-3235 and is unavailable on CD.