Record Review: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | Damn the Torpedoes
Review by Greg Beattie
CNC Free Press — April 13, 1980
This is definitely one of the most acceptable West Coast New Wave albums to emerge recently, especially if one considers the tremendous plague of cretin-produced, gutless recordings that the recording industry considers fit for public consumption.
The most striking quality of this album is the preponderant energy level that the group seems to maintain with little sacrifice in the area of technical or creative integrity. Although Petty’s lead vocals reverberate long-forgotten polyphonic of a young, nasal Bob Dylan (specifically on “Refugee”), this vision is dismissed entirely upon listening to tunes such as “Even the Losers” and “What are You Doing in My Life.” The group’s rocker status is also re-inforced through the purely relentless lead riffs and driving rhythms integral to most cuts.
The inclusion of the solid piano/organ work of Benmont Trench tends to add a certain depth to the album which one seldom encounters in New Wave material. Perhaps this signals a return to slightly improved recording and production techniques; techniques which were, coincidentally, part of the natural progression of production methods which occurred in the Sixties.
In conclusion, it is quite obvious that this group has joined the countless hundreds of other popular groups which flood our waves now-a-days in the “Great Rip-off” from past generations of inspired, original musicians and producers. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers do provide us with a refreshing, if not limited, breath of fresh air and I would heartily recommend the album to anyone wishing to gradually break into the New Wave scene.