Tag Archives: 1982

CHALICE AFORETHOUGHT

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August 2016 has been a red letter month for reissues because after I thought “English Settlement” would never come off the playlist, there is a new remastered Super Deluxe Edition of the Simple Minds classic from 1982 – “New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84)” to replace it endlessly.

And it is just as wonderful as it sounds.

Now I have already recently written about Simple Minds when mounting a defence of the sometimes neglected “Once Upon A Time” which would be released three years later but during the course, I admitted my love for this album above all their others – indeed it figures in my Twelve That Travel list which features in the main menu – and said that if they ever got round to a new version and box set I would be unstoppable in wanting to write about it.

Now I have to admit, I have versions of this album from each of its releases. I’ve had it on cassette, CD and then remastered version and I have a beautiful version in marbled gold vinyl to complement the striking cover. – which is one of my favourite, if naturally unplayed, pieces of my collection… together with the singles in all their various formats – picture discs, remixes and poster bags.

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Every single piece of this album’s construction screams attention to detail – from packaging, to design to sonic creativity.

But then that was always at the very heart of the album.

I had the pleasure of seeing a later version of the band perform the album in its entirety and you easily realise what a complete work it is. It is therefore, a wonderfully difficult album to deconstruct as it it fits together so seamlessly, with each track blending beautifully into the next, creating a textured soundscape that makes me suggest this is the best album Brian Eno never made.

It is interesting because Simple Minds previous work was patchy and heavily took its influence from Bowie’s Eno-produced Berlin trilogy, which (and I appreciate this is sacrilegious now) could be quite unlistenable in parts.

Yet when I listen now to the composition and delicacy of this album it resembles far more those other titans of Glam Art – Roxy Music. It shimmers and beguiles as a recording with its esoteric themes and subtle hooks. From the opening bars of “Someone Somewhere (In Summertime)” where you are immediately  transported to some ethereal world from which you will not return until the closing shudder of “The King Is White And In The Crowd”.

This album becomes the culmination of everything they have been searching for over their previous recordings and the journey is there for all to hear. Its seamless nature seems to echo the trajectory of their deliberate search. A true musical quest.

Jim Kerr’s voice is used like another instrument as it changes pitch and depth to the surroundings that his musical cohorts set up and each of them introduce tiny flourishes that continually build interest into every single track. It never slackens. The triptych of “Colours Fly And Catherine Wheels” (fizzing like its title) then “Big Sleep” and the side one closer of the curiously Balearic instrumental “Somebody Up There Likes Me” evoke all the classic elements of the album and form a riveting centrepiece  , while “The Hunter And The Hunted” has the added bonus of Herbie Hancock (yes that Herbie Hancock) putting a suitably jittery keyboard solo in to close.

Really it all begins with the first single, “Promised You A Miracle” because, although the album sounds entirely seamless, was recorded nearly six months earlier as an on-tour session. In the box set, you can hear its very first outing – before it was recorded officially – on the Kid Jensen show. However, it marked quite a change in the writing style for the band and in their fortunes, becoming their first significant hit and its richness combined with a more mainstream sensibility laid down the blueprint for the entire recording.

It is still a powerful blast from the past and captured that nexus of new romantic and futurism of which they and The Associates were probably the greatest exponents. It is dark, curious and has every instrument delivering something new every time you listen.

The follow-up single “Glittering Prize” manages to the follow the plan without becoming formulaic but really the album’s pinnacle is the title track, “New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84)”, which really has taken on a greater resonance with the new remaster. I say this because whilst it is an album very much of its time, it has lost none of its impact. It is almost the very representation of the Holy Grail depicted on the cover. It soars and swoops and you ride on its back. It almost never appeared as Jim Kerr was only able to drop lyrics in at the very last minute and yet it sounds like it spent centuries being marinated.

It really is a new found highlight.

Much of the enduring success should perhaps be given to Pete Walsh the producer who was fairly inexperienced and until then had only really engineered but most significantly on one of the previous year’s highlights the equally commendable “Penthouse And Pavement” by Heaven 17. There is so much depth and layering that the album never loses its bite.

Simple Minds may not have access to Presidents and may no longer sell out stadia but what  U2 would give to be able to say that they had produced an album as defining as this – they were so influenced by it that they began their relationship with Eno for “The Unforgettable Fire” and “The Joshua Tree” which was possibly as close as they came but they both lack the completeness of the Holy Grail – the sound Simple Minds spent four albums trying to find.

And here is where it all came together perfectly.

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ZEITGEIST

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Thursday was always a big day for a pop aficionado in the Eighties because not only was there the “must-see” Top Of The Pops which often gave you your first glimpse of an artist you might have only heard on Radio One until then, but also, and equally importantly, that week’s Record Mirror was available at the newsagents.

You cannot under-estimate the importance of the music press if you were living outside the heaving metropolis of shimmering (or so it seemed) London. It was here and in the other venerable publications of the time, NME, Melody Maker and The Face that we heard of these mystical venues such as The Blitz and The Wag Club, The Camden Palace and The Electric Ballroom, filled with beautiful scene-makers and New Romantics – you didn’t get many of them walking through the centre of Durham to my recollection.

The music press was really our connection to where the action was; it was our beacon and taste-maker. The world out there seemed unshockable.

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The darlings of all of this attention were undoubtedly Spandau Ballet, who had launched as one of the pioneers of the New Romantic movement  with the sonorous “Journeys To Glory”. It had all the right sounding synthesiser beats, allied with catchier hooks than many of their contemporaries. However, it did also possess that rather grandiose Teutonic feel so favoured by those who claimed Kraftwerk as an influence. Singles like “The Freeze”, “Musclebound” and the still powerful debut “To Cut A Long Story Short” all possess that style of remote tension both musically and lyrically.

Of course, this version of Spandau Ballet – all kilts and frills – is the image that immediately springs to mind when recalling the band.

Or, of course, it’s the balladeering and besuited housewives favourites, tanned and conspicuously successful that emerged with the immense success of “True”.

But there is another more interesting period that comes in between both of these eras marked by the album called “Diamond” which very nearly sank the band forever but, for many is their real highpoint – at least in parts.

Originally, released in March 1982, “Diamond was a peculiar release in that we had first heard output from it in July of the previous year with “Chant No.1 (I Don’t Need This Pressure On)” and the music scene was whirling on at such a pace that by the time the album was released, they had two further singles that had failed to really trouble record buyers and the album release looked like ‘last-chance saloon’ for the band after only two albums and a huge amount of hype – not least from themselves.

The album finds the band very much at a crossroads. The final three tracks, “Pharaoh”, “Innocence And Science” and the epic “Missionary” all seem to use the previous album as their style guide. There’s lots of mood and atmosphere set to almost military rhythms and they obviously have half an ear to the success of contemporaries, Ultravox and so creation end-sequence that is part-Balearic (esp. the under-rated “Pharaoh” – much admired now by the band, themselves) and part-overblown experimenting but all really delightfully and rather pretentiously obscure, as New Romanticism so often was won’t to be.

The third single and second flop, “She Loved Like Diamond” has all the hallmarks of the easier stylistic leanings that would come with the “True” album and especially “Gold”; thereby also establishing that Gary Kemp had some kind of lyrical jewellery fetish. The song fails because Tony Hadley’s voice and Gary Kemp’s melody do not quite have the strength that the follow-up would bring and also sounds far too mainstream on this most contemporary of recordings.

The final single is seen as the one that rescued the band and came about because the record company were fearing the loss of their investment and brought in Trevor Horn to remix the desperately ungrammatical “Instinction”. He brought them their first Top 10 single for over a year and probably saved the band an early release from their contract – though this is open to debate, Record Mirror certainly hinted at it.

He took the album version and simply tightened the single release of “Instinction”  to emphasise its hugely memorable melody line and make an excellent pop single that hinted at the kind of power-pop they would create soon enough with “Communication” and “Lifeline” on the later album and through onto the “Parade” LP afterwards – it really set the blueprint for the kind of performance the band would produce for the rest of their career but with still a touch of the mystic oddness that came from the rest of the album.

However, the duration of the releases from “Diamond” is important because the earlier releases are very much the sound of 1981 Soho clubland – part-Latin, part-funk, part-pop and much-loved by the music press. This was the world that was the habitat of The Face and the gossip column of the Record Mirror. This was sharp-suited, supercool and dance-driven and conjured up a world that really existed for only the very shortest of times.

One of my very favourite (but forgotten) bands, Blue Rondo A La Turk, seemed to be the very essence of this whole scene but through a series of bad luck situations, they never gained the attention they so thoroughly deserved. However, this scene did not burn brightly without at least one song leaving an indelible mark on the collective pop consciousness and, for me it is Spandau Ballet’s finest song – “Chant No.1”.

It is a record that sounds dangerous even now with a sense of brooding excitement and over-heating claustrophobia. They borrowed the horn section of jazz-funk band Beggar & Co who had just had their own exceptional hit “Somebody Help Me Out”, to create gripping stabs of brass that just served to turn the attack up on the unexpectedly tight groove. This was the celebration of that world that seemed so far away – Le Beat Route et al, where the promo was shot – and is still one of the decade’s defining 45s.

As an aside, Beggar and Co would return the favour for their exposure by releasing their follow-up single with the subtitle “Mule (Chant No.2)” – sadly it was not terribly successful.

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The unheralded “Coffee Club” also delightfully hijacks the Latin sound so deftly exorcised by their Blue Rondo contemporaries whilst the second flop single “Paint Me Down” really has stood the test of time and perhaps only really suffered chart-wise from not being quite as good as the immaculate “Chant No.1”. It still has the scent of clubland all over it and is deserving of reconsideration especially in its extended version.

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The world of music moved very quickly on the early eighties and in under three years Spandau Ballet would move from the New Romantic jerkiness  of “To Cut A Long Story Short” to the radio-friendly blue-eyed soul of “True” and then by and large, stick to that theme for the rest of their career (either side of the notorious court case). I know there will always be accusations of Spandau being preening clothes-horses, however, there was a time when they were the faithful recorders of the “Scene” – the very hippest of the very hottest.

“Diamond” is an odd collection because I can think of few albums that can so clearly delineate a band’s past, present and future. It may be the simple length of its gestation that makes it so uneven and hence the least successful. But it deserves full marks for experimentation and bringing a faraway world so brilliantly into the lives of those who felt they had no chance of ever witnessing it.

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WHEN ELECTRIC MEETS ECCENTRIC

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Everyone from Elvis Costello to Frank Zappa and even Steve Martin have been credited with composing the line “Writing about music is like dancing about architecture” and there are times when I write this blog that I worry that I am confusing art-forms and that renders what I do pointless.

However, I assure you that, as this remains largely for my own amusement and I also serve the purpose of sending readers scurrying to their attics to rediscover those they once loved, I don’t worry too much about it.

Actually, the quotation seems to have come from satirical comedian and musician, Martin Mull, who released a fantastically titled country song “A Girl Called Johnny Cash” so I think even he had his tongue firmly in his cheek when he made his excellent utterance about music journalism.

The reason this all came to mind is that often I like to think about an artist or an album’s legacy – sometimes historically and often times personally. Some have meant so much to me at certain moments in life that revisiting them again takes on a greater importance than any CD remaster perhaps intends.

However, few artists, at least early in their careers think of their legacy. They want to be famous, be in the charts and appear on Top Of The Pops, whilst having a rip-roaringly good time. Few artists can have thought so little of their legacy at the time than The Associates.

This post-punk ensemble from Dundee largely led by the multi-octaved Billy Mackenzie and the brooding Alan Rankine (aided and abetted at various times by bassist Michael Dempsey and Martha Ladly previously of “Echo Beach” fame) made seemingly every effort to combust their talents at every opportunity.

Their third album “Sulk” had been funded by a huge advance from their new label WEA Records and the band proceeded to move into the Holiday Inn in Swiss Cottage for months – including a separate room for Billy’s pet dogs who were fed room service smoked salmon. If they read about something called a Jangle Piano, they ordered one up and brought it to the studio irrespective of costs. They swapped tom-toms for snares and recorded instruments underwater. Their belief being that the more money the company piled into the recordings, the more likely they were to back the artists. The stories of their excesses were legendary and yet, whilst profligate, in the studio they worked diligently to create something 100% different.

Everything was an act of defiance – the ironic, arty performances on Top Of The Pops; the cover of the supposedly cursed 30s song “Gloomy Sunday” (although when one considers Billy’s later sad suicide, it may not be so ‘supposed’) and of course, Mackenzie’s astonishing and unique vocal style which could leap from falsetto to baritone in a yodeling flash.

And then just as they hit the big time and were about to tour America, they split up and never reached such heights again.

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So when (to some of you, surprisingly) I write of The Associates’ “Sulk”‘s legacy consider these two facts for starters…

Firstly, Peter Ashworth’s sumptuous portrait of the band on the album sleeve resides now in the National Portrait Gallery.

Secondly, the darkly soaring “Party Fears Two”, with its  intro on a jangle piano no less, is just about one of the best singles of the 80s. When you first heard it, it was one of those musical epiphany moments.

It’s lyrically ambiguous, jaggedly dystopian and utterly brilliant…

Of course, this single rather over-shadowed the rest of the album but there are other redeeming points on “Sulk” even though it is still not an easy way to spend forty minutes or so.

The opening instrumental, “Arrogance Gave Him Up” was apparently designed as a show opener because Mackenzie was perennially late for the start of gigs and the band could begin while he readied himself. It’s then a further two minutes into the second track “No” before we are finally treated to the unique vocal and if you’re not prepared it is the most extraordinary and jarring experience.

“Nude Spoons” was written about a teenage acid trip and knowing that explains how difficult it can be to sit through as there are yelps and screeches throughout. I expect you had to be there. “Skipping” however was a real fan favourite and has Billy sounding remarkably like Scott Walker. It’s almost as if the album becomes progressively more listenable – no big openers but more uneven Joy Division obscurity moving track by track into glorious synth post-punk.

The closing bend of the album takes you through the pulsating “It’s Better This Way” into the two big singles – the latter of which, “Club Country” is a deliberately acerbic and withering view of the whole New Romantic movement of which The Associates were often mistakenly taken to be part. They may have considered themselves stylish but they were no show ponies.

Theirs was an eccentric sound matched with equally eccentric look and lifestyle glued together by a growing penchant for melody and riffs and Billy Mackenzie’s inimitable voice. If you get to hear their cover interpretations of Diana Ross’s “Love Hangover” for instance, you can truly understand why they were such a unique blend of alternative rhythms, that only true innovators would consider attempting.

Strangely, the last song on the album “nothinginsomethingparticular” was actually an instrumental version of their next single “18 Carat Love Affair” and to this day,nobody knows why it was included. The Top Of The Pops experience for that single was no less bizarre as Alan Rankine ordered two life size chocolate guitars from Harrods and pretended to play one of them whilst giving away bits of chocolate to the audience.

Seriously…

And then two weeks after appearing on the cover of Smash Hits,they split up. Mackenzie had to rest his voice and Rankine had frankly had enough and the ensuing tours were cancelled and The Associates as we knew them were no more.

Mackenzie would make one or two interesting records before his sad death but the unusual vocal gymnastics would become more familiar through Morrissey (who remained a long time admirer of the band). They were subversive long before the KLF and without the long hours of study that their concept took.

However, it doesn’t all work even on “Sulk”, but you witness is a band with a unique sound and story to tell that just manage to find their beautiful voice so majestically.

Sadly, it was only for a few brief minutes – a short but exciting legacy.

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GREAT SCOTT

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This whole concept has terrified me, since it first turned up on my newsfeed.

Keen readers who have consulted my humble blog and perused the section “The Twelve That Travel” will already know that “The Lexicon Of Love” is one of my very favourite albums by anyone ever.

My first encounter with ABC came when “Tears Are Not Enough” was first released and Record Mirror referred to the band as “spotty funksters” – don’t ask why that stuck with me but it did. I liked that record a lot but then we got “Poison Arrow” followed quickly by “The Look Of Love” and no matter how familiar those records are now, they are amongst the most powerful pop 45s of any decade.

In fact, this remix is one of my favorites by anyone also.

At sixteen years of age, this is the album that seemed to understand fully the highly dramatic nature (at least I thought they were) of my earliest relationship encounters; the anticipation and hope followed by the cruel dashing of aspirations. There were many days when I would happily put “a marriage proposal in the waste disposal” although things were never quite as developed as that!

I even remember sending one suddenly former girlfriend a copy of the single of “All Of My Heart” – you know…

“Once upon a time when we were friends, I gave you my heart, the story ends. No happy ever after, now we’re friends”.

Crikey, this album was a shorthand for every emotion it was possible to feel – a cut out and keep guide to hand out as necessary. As I said before, anguish never sounded so much fun.

So as I have spent the ensuing decades turning from being hopelessly romantic into romantically hopeless, the glimmer of expectation that “The Lexicon Of Love” could provide has never left me and so it has never been an album heading for the Oxfam racks.

But lo!

What profanity is this – “The Lexicon Of Love II”.

Robert de Niro or Andy Garcia?

How could they defile the memory of one of my favorite albums with a cheap follow-up and remake?

The answer is they didn’t. The whole experience has been created to remind you of all that was wonderful about the first album but with a slightly more knowing and more positive outlook. It’s all there in the opening track “Flames Of Venus” – Martin Fry’s clever lyrics (“let Roman Tiber melt away”), Anne Dudley’s swooping strings, and that wonderful bouncing pop drive that takes you back not just to 1982 but – and this is the important thing – to every other time you’ve felt that only “The Lexicon Of Love” will do.

About five years ago, I had the pleasure of being at the Royal Albert Hall for a performance of the original album with producer Trevor Horn and Anne Dudley  and the BBC Concert  Orchestra and it was as blissful as it sounds. Apparently, this very concert was the spur for Martin Fry to go away and try to put this sequel together which raises two issues for me.

Firstly, Trevor Horn was unavailable to produce and so his sound was replicated fairly accurately – I  certainly will not say updated because I don’t think it was a sound that ever dated in the first place. However, I don’t think any of Trevor Horn’s production work subsequently was ever as warm as this. I adore “Slave To The Rhythm”, “Left To My Own Devices” and “Welcome To The Pleasuredome” all but there is a coolness brought into them by the deftness of his production skill in creating such epic sounds. Dare I say, it might have been a blessing in disguise that he was otherwise engaged – I doubt we would have ended up with something as tender as “The Love Inside The Love”.

The second question ultimately is what would possess Martin Fry to even attempt this because I know I’m not the only one who had such affection for this classic original. The truth is that the band had truly disturbed their fans once or twice before. The follow-up album “Beauty Stab” removed all of the orchestration and arrangements and aimed for a darker rockier guitar-based feel. Simon Reynolds, a writer I admire on many subjects, called this album “one of the great career-sabotage albums in pop history”. He puts this alongside “Tusk” and “Sandinista” and he’s definitely right. We tried it and didn’t like it at all and I would suggest it was the biggest of the three (after all, I like “Tusk”).

For the next album, they inexplicably turned themselves into cartoon characters and created another bizarre album that bore little resemblance to the ABC with whom we had fallen in love  – although there was one exception which was the simply wonderful “Be Near Me” which only served to remind us all what we had lost.

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Their fourth album seemed to correct matters as “Alphabet City” saw a return of “the slyest rhymes and the sharpest suits” with “When Smokey Sings”, “King Without A Crown”and “The Night You Murdered Love”. They were all great pop singles with a modicum of the sheen and romanticism of the first album. It seemed a more fitting epitaph and although there were some interesting albums into the early 00s that seemed to, at least, make some amends for the aberrations of the past, without, of course, the impact of the very first release.

So now here we are in 2016 with a fantastic new album from ABC and it seems only right that finally Martin Fry’s story has a happy ending. The new work is not just a retread but has the positive nature of a man no longer in pursuit of the unattainable, comfortable in his life and celebrating how he finds his situation. “Viva Love” indeed.

Illness, bad career choices and a lack of relevancy had dogged his career and yet like Hugh Grant’s character in “Music & Lyrics” (he was assigned as his vocal coach for that movie) he has found that his effect on his audience is more profound than even he might have considered. “The Singer Not The Song” has more than just an autobiographical hint of how he feels about his career.

The joy of this story is that like Madness with “The Liberty Of Norton Folgate” and Squeeze with “From The Cradle To The Grave”, age need not be a barrier for our sometimes discarded former idols as they still have the irrresistible talent to make relevant and enjoyable records. He might now be 57 and the gold lame suit may have ended up in a toilet in Tokyo, but Fry has created an album that is capable of generating all the good feeling and buzz that I felt towards its illustrious 35 year old predecessor.

The only thing I really don’t like is the title but I doubt any record company would have even given him a second look for a release without it and they are certainly not going to  fall for The Alarm’s “Poppy Fields” trick again.

I think this sequel is less “The Godfather” and, instead, more like the end of “The Back To The Future” trilogy – the first film is unsurpassable in its imagery, storytelling and originality, the final film retains the humor and knowingness of the first, with a simple exciting story to tell and resolves in a satisfying and tidy conclusion. “Back To The Future II” needs a degree in astro-physics to plot the changes and swerves – it’s complicated and leaves you gasping desperately for some sort of swift realignment (that’ll be “Beauty Stab” et al).

A wonderful fulfilling 30 year travel backwards and forwards in time – bravo Martin McFry (I thang yew!).

This could have been a cheap cash-in but doesn’t just replay the old themes but substitutes a more worldly wise view. The puns and the rhymes are still there as well as the timeless quality of glorious orchestration and whilst redolent of its parent, never defiles the place it has in the cherished memory of its followers.

This album is full of vigor and character but retaining ABC’s recognizable tone (“Confessions Of A Fool” and “I Believe In Love”) but the narrative is also beautifully constructed in songs like “The Ship Of The Seasick Sailor”. There’s nods to the original all over, lyrically and musically and I defy you not to break out in a broad smile once it all starts to kick in.

It’s now Romance – and not Anguish – that never sounded so much fun. You know what… after all this time, even I might just give it a try.

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BACK FROM THE DEAD

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In the summer of 1982, the highlight for me was not a classic World Cup in Spain but instead that period will always be dominated by the fact that I first saw the Rolling Stones and – for those that know me even slightly – thus began a life’s devotion that has never left me. To close the tour, which had surpassed all expectations for tickets, they added an extra date at Roundhay Park in Leeds which was an immense event with over a hundred and twenty thousand fans turning up.

Even back then, we all thought that ‘this might be the last time’.

So the bill was filled with the support that had been with the Stones throughout most of the tour – blues favourites, George Thorogood & The Delaware Destroyers as well as the J. Geils Band – having an unexpected brush with success thanks to “Freeze-Frame”. However, because it was outdoor, a huge crowd and a long day, they added Joe Jackson and his band to join the afternoon’s bill.

My two recollections were, firstly, of a fantastic acapella version of “Is She Really Going Out With Him” which really brought the crowd to their feet; you’ll find it on the bonus disc of the deluxe edition. Watching a version recently from the same time – at the Regal Theatre Hitchin, no less (which may back up my earlier point that his popularity was at that stage waning) – it’s really a bit ragged but a brave thing to do in front of a crowd as large as there was in Leeds.

Most memorably, however, the entire band came to the front of the stage at the end of their set with their cameras to take pictures of the audience because, as they said, they thought they would never play in front of a crowd that large again.

And that admission was probably true.

Joe Jackson had had a couple of really good albums in “Look Sharp” and “I’m The Man” in 1979 and was thought of as something of a new-wave tyro but even by 1982, we had all rather forgotten about him. Undoubtedly, his move towards more jazz-based recordings with “Beat Crazy” and “Jumpin’ Jive” (both good) satisfied his own style but left his audience rather bemused, despite the fact that there was a kind of Latin Swing vibe going on at the time with Kid Creole and Blue Rondo A La Turk (on them both, undoubtedly more in another session). Perhaps the audience would have preferred a snarl to a smile.

So the self-deprecating remarks in Leeds seemed charming but honest.

Until of course, along came that strange phenomenon of MTV which had a very strange knack in the early to mid 80s of breaking any single with a decent promo, often far ahead of its UK release.

Enter Joe Jackson with “Steppin’ Out” and the video – directed by master in his field, Steve Barron – featuring the dreams of a New York hotel chambermaid and Joe, himself as a down at heel pianist – both transformed into chic denizens of Manhattan nightlife. A huge airplay hit nearly three months ahead of its foray into the British Top 40. It was an odd trend whereby the UK exported these hits to America where when they became successful exported them back to us. A Flock Of Seagulls anyone?

It’s well documented that the Second British Invasion of the 80s came to America on the strength of the UK’s huge catalogue of well-made and interesting cinematic promos, which was an art-form that at the time eluded the States.

But firstly, the promo, whilst looking a little dated now, was a remarkable piece of work, it had a Hollywood-like story with a neat twist and asked its main musical protagonist to simply perform – no real acting required – and barely even look straight at the lens.

That said, it’s doing the song and its accompanying album a huge disservice to say it was a fluke on the back of a video because it is still a fascinating recording that uses New York as the inspiration of all its numbers and so you can hear Latin, Jazz and Soul popping up all over the place, enhanced by lasting keyboard melodies and sequenced accompaniment.

It split itself into a Day Side and a Night Side that sequenced the songs together in a seamless segue which just heightened the atmosphere that the album attempted to create. The opener, “Another World”, absolutely captures the heady feeling of setting foot in New York for the first time before sending you hurtling into “Chinatown” with its suitably Asiatic theme and then catapulting you into the Cuban stew of “Target”.

The Day Side is strange in that it doesn’t feel any less night-time than the reverse. “Cancer” and “Real Men” hark back to the angry young man of British New Wave albeit in its new Big Apple veneer but it is the two slower numbers that bookend this side that are the real highlights – and I never tend towards the more downtempo numbers.

“Breaking Us In Two” is a poignant and honest reflection on the bond within relationships whilst “A Slow Song” offers a lot more than its title would indicate. It’s about loving music and wanting to here the right song at the right time – perhaps it’s that kind of inspirational thinking that made me – via this blog – get round  to encouraging us to dig out just the right sound not necessarily the newest one. Whatever, it is a wonderful builder of mood, taking you high and then suddenly dropping down again.

“Night And Day” is a comparatively short album but wonderfully varied and captures the mood of its performer and how he felt about his new environment at the time perfectly. I think if you try it again you may feel as I do now, that its mix of jazz rhythms and acerbic lyrics reminds you of a Steely Dan record. And that’s intended to be high praise.

And whilst I may have a few doubts about the Night/Day split, I think a word should be said about the cover (drawn by Phillip Burke) which is a superbly classy affair which sets the stall out for what we should be expecting. Covers were after all so much part of the pleasure of the experience at the time and this album will present you with plenty of that.

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