(All Album Reviews by Chuck AzEee!)
Francis Dunnerry-Lead Vocals, Guitars, Tapboard
Dick Nolan-Bass, Backing Vocals
Bob Dalton-Drums, Percussion, and Backing Vocals
John Beck-Piano, Synthesizers, Backing Vocals
Released in 1989, the up and coming progressive rock band It Bites had released two classic albums, Big Lad in The Windmill and Once Around The World, but yet mounting pressure to produce a follow up to the sappy UK hit “Calling All Heroes”, the band by the time the third album, Eat Me In St. Louis, the four members of It Bites, closest of friends, were at each others throats.
Eat Me in St. Louis, strangely named after a Judy Garland movie pun aside, the album logo was done by the renown progressive rock album and logo designer Roger Dean, which might have been great for drawing older progressive rock fans, especially Yes fans, but yet Eat Me in St. Louis probably alienated older progressive rock fans and their fans alike, as the album showed the band streamlining their music more towards the mainstream instead of what had made the band one the best progressive rock bands of the eighties.
The music on Eat Me in St. Louis is pretty much dated to the eighties, with its slick synthesizer sound, over the top guitar work and cleanly mixed songs, style wise the band sound like a cross between Genesis circa Abacab/Genesis/Invisible Touch. The star and the goat is the lead vocals/guitarist Francis Dunnerry, whose guitar work conjures up Steve Hackett/Trevor Rabin but on the other side, Francis’s vocals seemed more strained, which did not necessarily hold up well on some of the songs here.
Most of Eat Me in St. Louis consists of outtakes and b-sides, but given the arrangement of the album, the songs all are consistent with each other. The strongest tracks are the hook-laden “Underneath My Pillow”, rockers “Murder Of The Planet Earth”, “Let Us All Go” and “Sister Sarah”, but all fall way short of the opus “The Ice Melt Into Water”, which is one of the greatest songs ever done by It Bites.
In closing, the pressure of having to produce the ultimate “hit” song, lack musical focus and the star in waiting in leader Francis Dunnerry, It Bites would call it a day, leaving many fans wondering if Eat Me in St. Louis was to be their swan song.