Some over at the official Girlschool online forum have voiced the opinion that the band would be better off concentrating on new material, as without Kelly on board, they have no hope of topping the original. To some degree it’s an argument not without merit, but it nonetheless misses the point that this is not in any way intended to replace the original, but simply to celebrate what was a magical time in the band's career. On that basis alone, it is a runaway success.
Crucially, the band has chosen not to try and fix what isn’t broken. There is no trace of any wholesale reinvention on display, the band instead romping through updated yet faithful versions of the original eleven tracks, alongside the double-whammy bonus of a re-recorded “Demolition Boys” and a new take on “Hit And Run” featuring metal goddess Doro on lead vocals.
The revamped album captures the energy, attitude and most importantly, spirit of the original release. Iconic tracks like “C’mon Let’s Go,” the rampant “Yeah Right” and ZZ Top’s “Tush” rage with the same vitality that powered classic albums by Girlschool’s best buddies in Motorhead and retain a strong sense of the DIY ethic that characterised the NWOBHM from which Girlschool emerged in the late seventies.
The performances are pleasingly raw and raucous, with the band happily avoiding the temptation to overload the release with anything as crass as samples and triggers. Simply put, this is four girls having a blast with some great old songs, and while Girlschool doesn’t really do ballads, the outstanding “Back To Start” highlights the songwriting maturity which lurks beneath their Jack Daniels-fuelled bravado.
The updated Hit And Run won’t redefine heavy rock in 2011 any more than the original release did back in 1981, but it’s a timely reminder of just how good Girlschool remains to this day and is a whole lot of hard-partying fun. If you’re watching Kelly, the girls did you proud.
(released October 4, 2011 on Wacken Records)