One of the more important but little discussed side effects of the rise of new wave in the late 1970s and early '80s was that plenty of guys who weren't sonic revolutionaries but liked classic pop tunes, old-school British Invasion stuff, and vintage R&B finally had a genre where it was OK to play straightforward, classic-style rock & roll without having to dress it up in a lot of arena rock trappings. (It's germane to recall Bruce Springsteen had tangential new wave cred for a while, at least before The River and Born in the U.S.A. made him too big for the hipsters.) For every group of firebrands wanting to shake the boat, like Devo or Elvis Costello, there was at least one band like Tommy Tutone that just wanted to play no-frills rock & roll suitable for dancing and beer drinking, and on their debut album, they did just that, and did a fine job of it. The opening track, "Angel Say No," rose to the lower reaches of the Top 40, and it recalls Tom Petty's earlier sides with its lean but muscular arrangement and pleading lyric, as vocalist Tom Heath urges some nameless gal to heed his wisdom. While the semi-reggae accents of "Cheap Date" and the angular textures of "Girl in the Back Seat" suggests these guys took their skinny ties seriously, most of the album is solid and unpretentious rock & roll with a slight retro vibe and an admirable lack of wasted effort. Tommy Tutone reveals Heath was a solid rock & roll belter with a dash of soulful grit, Jim Keller played fine lead guitar without pomp or gingerbread, and the rhythm section was tight and held the songs together without a lot of fuss. While the album's slightly flat production lacks a certain personality, the band sounds fine, and the best tunes ("Rachel," "Hide Out," and "Angel Say No") effortlessly fuse blue collar sweat with formal classicism. Which is to say, these guys were a good rock & roll band, which was something worth being in 1980.