Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Echo And The Bunnymen - The Cutter (Korova)

Dark vocals, dramatic chords and the kind of "Eastern" riff that sent Blancmange scurrying off to Egypt to film a video make this an intriguing but inscrutable single. "Spare us the cutter," implores the chorus. Certainly boys, but, er, what is it? (Dave Rimmer, Smash Hits, January 20, 1983)

Everything But The Girl - Mine (Blanco Y Negro)

The subtle use of percussion and smoky tones of Tracey Thorn's voice turn this into another late-night affair. A haunting tale of a girl left holding the baby, this, like all their records, turns me all moody. (Linda Duff, Smash Hits, July 5, 1984)

It's brilliant, isn't it? I like all this jazz based stuff that's happening now because its good for people to get into that level of musicianship and also make it commercial at the same time. It's getting away from quick, cheap and nasty. It's a great song and she's got a really good voice and phrases the words really well. This is one of the best singles I've heard for a long time and it should be a big hit if they've finished their exams and want to do a bit of promotion. Single Of The Week. (Andy Taylor [Duran Duran], Record Mirror, July 14, 1984)

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Killing Joke - A New Day (EG)

If it actually had a start, a middle, and an end, we might have played it right through. The rhythm track's good, I like all the tom toms and stuff, but it doesn't seem to go anywhere. They'll probably beat us up now but I did like a couple of their records. We've got a roadie who's mad about Killing Joke but he won't go to any of their gigs because you get spat on. (Andy Taylor [Duran Duran], Record Mirror, July 14, 1984)

A very dated guitar riff announces the fact that we're not to expect anything new from Killing Joke in this latest release. They're apparently attempting to sound threatening and raw, but the band have always been a little guilty of being pantomime punks, and this just reinforces that pastiche. Killing Joke are about ten years too late, and the only people they threaten are the record company. (Muriel Gray, Smash Hits, July 19, 1984)

Monday, October 16, 2017

Boy George - Keep Me In Mind (Virgin)

He may be Nick Kamen's badge salesman, but he's also Boy George, my granny's favourite popstar (yes, and your budgie Joey's favourite too, gran), erm, sorry. She'll love it when she hears it. 'That trippy flute will make it a big hit all over the continent' she'll be telling me soon. And I'd have to agree. It's The Boy back to his best that wasn't "Everything I Own" nor "Ferry Aid"! Keep Boy George in mind? For as long as we can remember Marilyn (Monroe) to be sure. (Frank Gillespie, No 1, June 6, 1987)

Sunday, October 15, 2017

King - Soul On My Boots (CBS)

This is really nice, the bass player's good. It could be a hit and they've got quite a good image. The old long hair's coming back, like mine, and it's important to have a good image without being too fabricated. The only thing is, they shouldn't wear Doctor Martens. I've never had a pair of them. (Andy Taylor [Duran Duran], Record Mirror, July 14, 1984)

Friday, October 13, 2017

Kajagoogoo - The Lion's Mouth (EMI)

Well well well, what do we have here? It's my old mates the "Chappypoopoos". I suppose I could slag it off 'cause they gave me the boot or, on the other hand, I could be really nice just in case they review my next single. However, I've decided to be purely and simply honest: I bumped into Nick [Beggs] at the record company offices just before Xmas and he played it to me then. I left the building humming the chorus and generally reminiscing. Good luck, guys. Single Of The Fortnight. (Limahl, Smash Hits, February 16, 1984)

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Men Without Hats - Living In China (Statik)

Set the synthesiser controls for the heart of the sun, as Ivan and his band embark on a headlong dash through the perils of living in China. Too frantic to dance to and too frenetic to pick out a melody, "Living In China" is a track off their debut album Rhythm Of Youth which was recorded at least two years ago. Unfortunately it shows. (Frank Hopkinson, No 1, February 4, 1984)

According to their press handout this incredibly silly Canadian group featured Margaret Trudeau on their last single and the defecting Chinese tennis star Hu Na on this one. I reckon they could hire Jesus Christ, Lassie and the Dagenham Girl Pipers and still not get a hit. (Max Bell, No 1, June 18, 1983)

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Debbie Harry - Rush Rush (Chrysalis)

Oh Debbie, oh Debbie, oh Debbie! What happened to those wonderful days when you were such a worldwide star and you had the world (including me) at your fingertips? The rawness that gave Debbie Harry her incredible appeal has been chucked out of the window for some electronic gimmickry. I prefer the old days. (Limahl, Smash Hits, February 16, 1984)

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Psychedelic Furs - Angels Don't Cry (CBS)

A steady diet of filterless cigarettes is probably the cause of Richard Butler's gravel-pit groans, here interspersed with the sax lines that were so successful on "Heaven". Nowhere near as vibrant as "Pretty In Pink" this is strictly for US audiences crying out for a pit of pretension in rock instead of the home-grown capsleeves, denims and cowboy boots. (Frank Gillespie, No 1, January 17, 1987)

A fairly pensive ditty from the band now elevated to a much deserved level of stardom, courtesy of "Pretty In Pink". Difficult to elaborate really. Not one of the Furs' finest moments, and Richard Butler still sounds like his throat is locked in combat with a spoonful of gravel. Oh for another "Love My Way". (Lesley O'Toole, Record Mirror, January 10, 1987)

The Toy Dolls - She Goes To Finos (Volume)

More Geordie jokiness from the intensely irritating Toy Dolls whose heavyhanded sense of humour and cod punk doesn't extend far beyond wearing out the welcome of banal rifling and silly voices. Anyone who likes this must have had their pilot light blown out at a very early age. (Max Bell, No 1, March 30, 1985)

Monday, October 9, 2017

Whitney Houston - Someone For Me (Arista)

Ms Houston's paper credentials are strong. Daughter of Cissy, cousin to Dionne Warwick, songs provided by Kashif, Jermaine Jackson, Narada Michael Walden, blah blah blah .. . Houston's big voice threatens to set Freddie Washington's semi-ballad alight and justify the brou-ha, but Jermaine's anonymous backing sends the listener into deep slumber. Don't give up your modelling engagements yet, Whitney, honey. (Max Bell, No 1, March 30, 1985)

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Rockwell - He's A Cobra (Motown)

Rockwell has the sort of moustache Prince would die for. But "He's A Cobra" is the sort of song Prince wouldn't even give to Chick Huntsberry. Once upon a time someone was watching Rockwell. Now he's the victim of a snake-like charmer who's after his girl. Sad old world, ain't it? (Adrian Tierney-Jones, No 1, March 9, 1985)

Saturday, October 7, 2017

King - Taste Of Your Tears (CBS)

The first three times I heard this piece of jangly '60s "la la la" wimpery, I had to check the sleeve to remind myself who the group was - it's that unmemorable. I think it's meant to be the song people wave their fraying "Paul King's a really hunky geezer" scarves around to at concerts, but quite frankly it would be more at home backing a jolly cornflake commercial. And yet this is the same group who were responsible for the magnificent "Love And Pride"! It's all very rum. (Vici MacDonald, Smash Hits, October 9, 1985)

Friday, October 6, 2017

The Nightingales - What A Carry On (Vindaloo)

Robert Lloyd and his merry men return to brighten the day, with their own quirky pop music. Pete and Andy's guitars criss-cross and crunch through an EP which emphasises the Nightingales' claim to the 'quiet men of indie music' crown. While others shout and stamp their leather feet, the Nightingales continue to make excellently eccentric music. Rob Lloyd's lyrics are there to be marvelled at as well. Carry on indeed. (Andy Strickland, Record Mirror, October 12, 1985)

Madonna - Angel (Sire)

Bar the horrible "Material Girl", all of Madonna's songs sound basically the same; trashy dance music with simple catchy tunes and disposable trite lyrics. "Angel" is absolutely typical and I love it. Enjoy it while you can - next year she's bound to go terribly adult, wearing long sequinned dresses and singing Lionel Richie ballads. (Chris Heath, Smash Hits, June 19, 1985)

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Immaculate Fools - Nothing Means Nothing (A&M)

Undoubtedly the most brilliant title since Depeche Mode's "People Are People". And the record's no disappointment. Unoriginal, silly and really rather boring. Actually it reminds me a bit of The Psychedelic Furs, which is a good link into the next one .. (Paul Simper, No 1, October 13, 1984)

Howard Jones - Hide And Seek (WEA)

So many artists seem to do two fast ones and then a slowy. This is a big, soft, slow, slushy ballad that sounds incredibly like Barry Manilow at times. I don't like this as much as his uptempo stuff but it's still up to his usual standard. I would think a chart cert. (Limahl, Smash Hits, February 16, 1984)

The strength of the new solo stars like Paul Young and Howard Jones is that they're not over-keen to impress. "Hide And Seek" builds ever so slowly from a few gentle drumbeats and synth doodlings into a stately and controlled masterpiece which harks back to Japan's "Ghosts". No.1 in a month. (Martin Townsend, No 1, February 18, 1984)

The Icicle Works - All The Daughters (Beggars Banquet)

What fake fur are they flinging at our kids? More poppy brass for the scouse gardeners - sounding more like Scott Walker with Teardrop Explodes than ever. A good earnest performance that nods along at the back - but is far too dated to offer much in the way of newsworthy style. (Dylan Jones, Record Mirror, May 25, 1985)

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Heaven 17 - Come Live With Me (Virgin)

George [Michael]: Some people said that Carol Kenyon's singing was only reason that "Temptation" got to Number Two. I would agree with them. This is not as original and it's really a return to the "clever" Heaven 17. Andrew [Ridgley]: Even more of a dirge than "Temptation". They've definitely gone way downhill since Penthouse And Pavement. That was energetic and lively; this is dross. (Wham!, Smash Hits, June 23, 1983)

What an extraordinary choice of single, After the sublime "Temptation" this begging letter from an older man to a younger girl seems far too reflective and lyrically top-heavy to strike a common chord. The B-side, a re-recorded "Let's All Make A Bomb", still sounds good. (Max Bell, No 1, June 18, 1983)

Despite the last hit, despite all the talk, here at last is the single that proves that Glenn and the boys aren't really in the big League at all. It's a fine idea (as usual) but one that gets lost entirely with some incredibly clumsy phrasing and unnecessary frippery. A miss is as good as a smile and Heaven 17 make me laugh. (John Shearlaw, Record Mirror, June 18, 1983)

New Order - The Perfect Kiss (Factory)

New Order emerged as the reincarnation of Joy Division after the suicide of singer Ian Curtis. Bald, boring history on a page, and most people already know it. But it's still important because it allows New Order to exercise a simple talent for understatement – the slight but beautiful 'chorus' to "The Perfect Kiss" – and allow that aura, the aura of tragedy, to vest it with significance. In the end what is basically a quite competently played and produced dance single becomes, like "Blue Monday", almost anthemic. (Martin Townsend, No 1, May 25, 1985)

Though New Order have created one of the largest walls of sound in current popular music, they still tend to grab hold of the most twee melody and milk it dry. This new ambidextrous love song looks at everything through a rose-tinted monocle and still fails to focus itself properly. Nevertheless, a good record that will get better with each listen. One hopes. (Dylan Jones, Record Mirror, May 25, 1985)

Monday, October 2, 2017

Midge Ure - That Certain Smile (Chrysalis)

I've always been fascinated by the paradox of Midge Ure. He makes grandiose, swirling high pop with allusions to quality and distinction, but its success is rooted more in hard graft perspiration than cool inspiration, He's a workman who tosses out nee-symphonic ditties with the industry and efficiency of a factory. The product is always functional, adequately pleasing in design and has built-in obsolescence. While most bands unconsciously aspire to this plateau, despite mouthing, to the contrary, Midge has turned this reliability into an art form. (Mike Gardner, Record Mirror, November 9, 1985)

It's the plush, grandiose pop sound of "If I Was" once again, only more so - which can mean only four things... 1) "That Certain Smile" will be a very big hit; 2) You'll be quite fond of it for a couple of days; 3) By the time it being played on the radio every six minutes you'll be sick to death of it; 4) If he does those stupid theatrical hand wiggles in the video again you'll scream and scream and hurl the TV set out of the window and it'll land on top of a police car and you'll be sent to prison for a very long time. Bad luck. (Tom Hibbert, Smash Hits, November 6, 1985)

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Men At Work - It's A Mistake (Epic)

Everyone is being perfectly beastly to the Men from down under, and with their reliance on plagiarism it's easy to see why. This is another of their bloodless, jokey songs, this time about power-crazed generals pressing the button and killing us all. Ho ho. At least they don't sound like the Police here and so won't have another hit. A blessing in disguise really. (Max Bell, No 1, June 18, 1983)

Certainly is, if you're still going for the millionth rewrite of "Down Under" This time the cargo from Cargo is merely excess baggage. "This year's Police" are the real Police - Men At Work have just become redundant. (John Shearlaw, Record Mirror, June 18, 1983)

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Haircut One Hundred - Love Plus One (Arista)

The band who'll have us all slipping into chunky knits and brogues before you can say Captain Mark Phillips. This is a fine follow-up to "Favourite Shirt" which, as soon as people become friends with the sound, will be an even bigger hit. It's a nifty mover with plenty of interesting details. And who could resist a lyric like "Where does it lead from here?/Is it down to the lake I fear?" They've been watching too many late-night thrillers. (Ian Birch, Smash Hits, January 7, 1982)

The Mock Turtles - Pomona EP (Imaginary)

Sounds a bit like Eighties hippies to me. All big violins and big production with effete little acoustic bits running underneath, giving way to a screamy guitar solo in the middle eight. Vocally it leans towards Bowie in his finer moments, but the Mock Turtles at least know a tune when it hits them so they're excused on those grounds. (Nancy Culp, Record Mirror, August 8, 1987)

Thomas Dolby - I Scare Myself (Parlophone)

Thomas Dolby, man or maniac? Nobody's been able to make up their minds about this oddball. Having Magnus Pyke in an early video did nothing to help his cause, but the superb 'Hyperactive' did much to lay the ghost. 'I Scare Myself' is a real gem. Snazzy and light, it swings along with Tom tinkling away on piano. This should give him a really big hit at last - and there's not a single synth in sight. (Paul Bursche, No 1, March 24, 1984)

Master Dolby leaves the lab, stops his quest for the perfect eighties synthesis of man and machine (so far a no-score draw), and delivers his most warming 45 to date. To do so he's made a nearly inch perfect copy of the Dan Hicks original, but nevertheless "I Scare Myself" is so hot with swooning acoustic guitars and delicately muted brass that I'll forgive him for that. (Jim Reid, Record Mirror, March 24, 1984)

Clipped off his fine album The Flat Earth, this is something RATHER special. Written by the extremely eccentric songwriter Dan Hicks (ideal for Tom really), it's a stunning song performed with delicate restraint and sung in a way that brings tears to the eyes of grown men (and women). Touches of The Wild West and today's technology have created a haunting atmosphere. Fab. Single of the fortnight. (Ian Birch, Smash Hits, March 29, 1984)

Holger Czukay - Cool In The Pool (EMI)

Starts off pretty, then gradually descends into out-and-out weirdness, but in utterly winning style. It's like watching the Eurovision Song Contest being stealthily taken over by little green men from outer space! Wonky and wonderful. (Sunie, No 1, August 6, 1983)

Friday, September 29, 2017

Eurythmics - This Is The House (RCA)

The sooner the Eurythmics realise that a sharp song is worth a million clever effects, the sooner they'll stop being an 'interesting' and start being a 'good' band. This crochets obscure words with slices from Bowie and Grace Jones. Interested? Didn't think so. (Ian Birch, Smash Hits, April 15, 1982)

John Lennon - I'm Stepping Out (Polydor)

For an extraordinary man, John Lennon managed to write a lot of very ordinary material before he died. This is so basic and dull that it barely merits criticism Who can take seriously A man who sings "gimme a break, gimme a break"? A lot of people over 30 will buy this and Yoko will become even richer but nobody knows better than poor Mrs Lennon that money isn't everything. (Muriel Gray, Smash Hits, July 19, 1984)

It'll be a hit, it's quite poppy. There's still a sparse amount of genius but it's not as good as his last one. It's not the best thing to talk about, dead people, but I think they should just let him be remembered for the great things he's done because he's not here now to make these records sound the way they should. (Andy Taylor [Duran Duran], Record Mirror, July 14, 1984)

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Simple Minds - Promised You A Miracle (Virgin)

The one that might just break the Minds. It's a brassy performance with Jim Kerr in formidable form, a hip-swivelling dance beat and a jumbo helping of 'atmosphere'. (Ian Birch, Smash Hits, April 15, 1982)

The Fall - Call For Escape Route (Beggars Banquet)

I'd love to know just how many takes it needed to get Mark E. Smith's lead out of tune. Maybe the guy has a natural talent for it. Similarly, it must have taken hours of valuable studio time to get that tinny guitar sound just so; time that could have been spent writing a decent song. (Dave Ling, No 1, October 27, 1984)

The Chameleons - A Person Isn't Safe Anywhere These Days (Statik)

Not Lori and the Chameleons but a Manchester skinchange. This morbid ditty takes its own title at face value and proceeds to unleash the kind of down mood that could have the entire nation slashing its wrists were it to be played on daytime radio. (Max Bell, No 1, June 18, 1983)

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The Weeds - China Doll (In Tape)

Yet more Stooge-aphiles here. Splendid country and northern tally ho with a fine line in raucous bounce and bawl. With some incredibly penetrating female vocals on the chorus, this is finger lickin' good. And if anyone recognises their graphics as being akin to a Sixties psychedelic combo of not dissimilar name, contact Age Concern immediately. (Jane Wilkes, Record Mirror, October 25, 1986)

Prince - Paisley Park (WEA)

The man in the violet loon-pants returns to us via an acid-drenched ballad called "Paisley Park". But doesn't Prince know that the paisley revival was strictly last year? In all honesty this sounds like one of the songs that didn't quite make the Beatles' White Album. If "When Doves Cry" conjured up images of tight spandex trousers ... then this is definitely flare city. Mutton dressed as lamb. (Dylan Jones, Record Mirror, May 25, 1985)

When all the flower power and Sergeant Pepper jokes have died away, Prince's Around The World In A Day LP will stand as a momentous achievement. Despite the pressure of mega-success it's patently not 'Purple Rain Vol. 2', but it marks yet another deft re-definition of the Prince sound. Across funk rhythms as dry and brittle as parchment he's scrawled guitar lines which are little more than feedback, with pained vocals that swoop, dip and finally crack completely. "Paisley Park" exorcises all these elements while it evokes a place where casualties of city life buy a "lifetime lease" to hippy happiness. A nursery rhyme tune pitched above Prince's range, it teeters on a tightrope between the ridiculous and the brilliant. And Prince – alone, currently, among all the major stars – will walk that rope till it's as thin as thread. (Martin Townsend, No 1, May 25, 1985)

Monday, September 25, 2017

Valerie And The Week Of Wonders - Real Surprise (Piggy Bank)

Lush acoustic guitars and an intriguing hint of the 'Tales of Edgar Wallace' theme drew me into this, only to find yet another mannered modern singer, by Lou Reed drawl out of Tony Hadley heroic. Quite a catchy little opus, though, and since the three Valeries (trying manfully to look mean behind their shades) look frighteningly young, they've time to get their singer into shape and then really astound us. Great name, too. (Sunie, No 1, November 24, 1984)

The Mighty Wah! - Weekends (Beggars Banquet)

In which Mr Wylie, to a U2 style rock heroic backing, lists all the interesting places one could go for a weekend - New York, Rio, Russia, Paris, "Or swan on a beach in Sri Lanka - just like Duran Duran!!!" - and bemoans the fact that he always ends up "here" (Liverpool, presumably). He probably means that a dull life is made to seem even more so in comparison with glossy jet-set images in videos and magazines. A million Duran fans will doubtless disagree. (Dave Rimmer, Smash Hits, September 13, 1984)

And so the romantic myth of Pete Wylie, (the maverick poet street fighter armed with guitar in one hand, determination in his guts and acid scouse wit on his tongue) continues. For some that all adds up to one noisy wretch, whereas for others it's inspirational. The raunchy attack of "Weekends" will do little to alter that position; lacking the wider anthem-like appeal of "Come Back" but still delivering venom and intent as only he knows how. (Pedro, Record Mirror, September 15, 1984)

Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark - So In Love (Virgin)

Only a year ago drippy pop was all the rage. Tears For Fears, China Crisis, The Lotus Eaters, OMD... But times have changed. The Tears have strapped on those guitars and punched their way into '85 while the rest of the country's listening to Springsteen and Don Henley. And as for OMD . . Despite a fancy XL design you still get the feeling they're both wearing little woollen jumpers. This is confetti pop of the second year. Wet and wimpy, as the weather forecasters say. (Paul Simper, No 1, May 18, 1985)

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Dee C Lee - Selina Wow Wow (CBS)

Who's this? ... Oh, the girl from Wham! That's .. . alright. It stays on the same level, there's no light and shade .. it doesn't seem to quite take off. It's a very powerful chorus but it isn't very pretty, it doesn't swing. Could be a continental hit but I don't think it's what the UK wants to hear. Best of luck with it, though! (Phil Fearon, Record Mirror, March 3, 1984)

This lady was apparently booted out of Wham! but it obviously hasn't affected her talent and confidence. I love the chorus and verse, and I also love the middle. In fact, I love it all. May be a hit. (Limahl, Smash Hits, February 16, 1984)

Just like Carol Kenyon, Dee C. Lee is undoubtedly a great singer, but she stands a little lost
in the limelight. The self-penned "Selina Wow Wow" is an affectionate tribute to her sexy sister - a harmless, un-frantic exercise in funk. Dee C. Lee has a lovely voice and a vivacious personality. All she needs is some better material. (Maureen Rice, No 1, March 3, 1984)

The Waterboys - The Whole Of The Moon (Island)

Mike Scott is getting to sound more like a cross between Bob Dylan and Cat Stevens with every record. But nasal whines aside, the four tracks on the 12 inch single, two from the album This Is The Sea, draw out the drama in Scott's barnstorming pop poetry to raging effect. Should bring water to both your eyes and your mouth. (Roger Morton, Record Mirror, October 19, 1985)

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Simply Red - Infidelity (Elektra)

The second single to be taken off the Men & Women LP, "Infidelity" finds Mick Hucknall in great voice, singing about how "a man can't be trusted" and how infidelity is "my middle name". Surely this can't be Mick singing about himself in real life, can it? Can it? (hem hem)... (Ian Cranna, Smash Hits, May 6, 1987)

Happy go lucky, summery sound from Simply Red; this written by Mick Hucknall and soul legend, Lamont Dozier. Hucknall's voice is as spectacular as ever and this funky, snappy song will have you tapping your toes before you can say 'top notch'! (Debbi Voller, No 1, May 16, 1987)

Friday, September 22, 2017

Everything But The Girl - Native Land (WEA)

Although the lyrics are quite challenging, this jazzy, late-night music is perfect to `mellow out' and 'get laid back' to. The only jarring note is the suspiciously out-of-tune harmonica in the middle. What's wrong with a nice bit of flute? (Vici MacDonald, Smash Hits, September 27, 1984)

I'm starting to think "Each And Every One" was a fluke. Nothing Ben Watt and Tracy Thorn have done before or since has matched their own solo work. Lyrically, "Native Land" is a brilliant plea for tolerance and understanding – in a town, in the world. But what little excitement there is in the tune is trodden flat by Tracy's lumpen, hung-over vocal and - on my copy at least - Smithman Johnny Marr's harmonica solo, which sounds painfully off-key. A major re-think required. (Martin Townsend, No 1, September 29, 1984)

Aztec Camera - Still On Fire (WEA)

Roddy digs out his tried and tested chord progression, fiddles with a gruffer voice on the opening line before scampering back to more familiar territory. This and the rest of the Knife LP is an indisputable testimony on the deep, deep dangers of describing a fledgling such as Frame as a 'genius'. (Marvin B Macclefish, Record Mirror, November 17, 1984)

Still on fire or just an old flame? Roddy Frame's latest offering sees the Aztecs twiddling their fingers. The song's a dull harkback to Don McLean's 'American Pie' days and producer Mark Knopfler makes a dire mess of the group's usually chirpy sound. Matters are not helped when comparisons are drawn with the flip side – the late, great "Walk Out To Winter". It may be live and a bit leaden but it still cuts like a knife through the present material. Come on, let's get the home fires burning again. (Paul Simper, No 1, November 17, 1984)

On the back cover Mr Frame is sporting a v. expensive pair of flowery Scot Crone trousers (achingly trendy London shop) and can therefore be assumed to be doing rather well these days. This enjoyable, jerky and singalongable item should justifiably ensure he does even better. Thumbs aloft. (Dave Rimmer, Smash Hits, November 22, 1984)

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Yello - Vicious Games (Elektra)

Swiss oddballs Yello are back, with a widescreen Euro-disco drama. It features a mysterious girl singer [actually Rush Winters] and mainman Dieter Meier taking the lead roles in a tale of love gone sour, played out over Boris Blank's thrilling musical landscapes. Epic stuff. Deserves to be the hit they should have had years ago (Stuart Husband, No 1, March 2, 1985)

Shriekback - Mercy Dash (Arista)

Shriekback are one of those alternative dance bands you hear about. The alternative in this case being anything rather than wasting your time trying to hop about to this record. Perhaps Shriekback are challenging our ideas, restructuring our notion of the dance, drawing us up to a new aesthetic plain. Perhaps they just make dance records you can't dance to. (Paul Simper, No 1, November 17, 1984)

A murky but quite appealing muddle of sound that, with a more interesting voice intoning the rather wiggy lyrics, could have been a really good record. As it is, I can't see it doing much. (Dave Rimmer, Smash Hits, November 22, 1984)

Private Lives - Because You're Young (Chrysalis).

No, it's not the blissful Bowie song from Scary Monsters though, now you come to mention it, the saxophone introduction is a bit like "Young Americans". Hitmaker-producer Martin Rushent struggles bravely to make a good pop record out of a weak song, but that Genetic Sound can't be found. (Neil Tennant, Smash Hits, March 4, 1982)

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

David Essex - Sweethearts (Mercury)

A sweetheart from the early '70s, the early '80s find Mr. E. in a sorry state. This is a dull thump of a song which recycles every lyrical cliche in the canon. Pass quickly. (Ian Birch, Smash Hits, April 15, 1982)

Orchestral Manouvres In The Dark - Genetic Engineering (Virgin)

Well worth the wait. OMD's knack of coming up with exhilarating singles has not been affected by their year off. Nobody can resist a plea on behalf of all those created, innocent bambinos and when you marry such sentiments to a great tune, even your goosebumps get goosebumps. (Ian Birch, Smash Hits, February 17, 1983)

Lone Justice - I Found Love (Geffen)

I remember interviewing Lone Justice 18 months ago and being warned that Maria McKee didn't like to be singled out - they were a real band, you see. Then all the others disappeared, and what we are left with is one squawky, potential rock superstar and a bunch of session musicians. Imagine Carmel going West Coast; this is the result. Maria McKee is a good songwriter and a charismatic personality, but the sooner she stops packaging herself like Bryan Adams in a dress the better for all of us. (Eleanor Levy, Record Mirror, February 21, 1987)

Friday, September 15, 2017

Paul Young - Every Time You Go Away (CBS)

The introduction sounds like the theme to Eastenders. Very meaningful lyrics and a nice melody. Paul's obvious ability is in singing ballads (this was originally by Hall & Oates) and this is another classic example. (Marshall O'Leary, Smash Hits, March 14, 1985)

This has got to go down as my favourite. Paul Young has got to be the best British white male singer. This has got everything; a great song, powerful production and he's a talented performer. I'm so glad to hear Paul's having singing lessons for his breath control after his vocal problems last year because he has a marvellous voice and I, for one, would be sad not to hear it again. This record got me on the first listening. Single Of The Week. (Hazell Dean, Record Mirror, March 2, 1985)

Bananarama - Shy Boy (London)

A brand new song crisply written and produced by Imagination's production team. Sunny and singalong - when you hear it blaring from hordes of transistor radios on a hot day at your favourite seaside resort you'll forget about the sand in your sandwiches. (Neil Tennant, Smash Hits, June 24, 1982)

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Nik Kershaw - The Riddle (MCA)

'The Riddle' in question concerns an old man of Arran going round and round a hole in the ground. Not the most stimulating of exercises but it seems to mean a great deal to mystic Nik. When Sting comes out with this metaphysical hogwash, so sweet are his songs that he gets away with it. Nik Kershaw probably couldn't get away with pinching a pack of liquorice from Woolies. The only riddle is why folk keep buying the boy's records. (Paul Simper, No 1, November 17, 1984)

Somewhere in its dim and distant lineage, this song is related to "Mull Of Kintyre". With its Celtic folksy tune, pushed along by military drums and penny whistles, and references to 'wise men', I suspect it's the first genuine Christmas Single of the season - albeit a little early - and the song most likely to be whistled by your milkmen in the winter months ahead. (Neil Tennant, Smash Hits, November 8, 1984)

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