Monday, 4 June 2018

The Style Council - Our Favourite Shop (1985)

  

Released June 1985

TRACK LISTING

1. Homebreakers
2. All Gone Away
3. Come To Milton Keynes
4. Internationalists
5. A Stone's Throw Away
6. The Stand up Comic's Instructions
7. The Boy Who Cried Wolf
8. A Man Of Great Promise
9. Down In The Seine
10. The Lodgers
11. Luck
12. With Everything To Lose
13. Our Favourite Shop
14. Walls Come Tumbling Down
15. Shout To The Top                                  

This album was The Style Council’s high point. A collection of mainly highly politicised songs that see the jazzy piano instrumentals and smoky club torch songs of “Cafe Bleu” jettisoned in favour of a more full band, rocky sound, slightly more akin to how The Jam may have progressed had they stayed together, certainly in the case of the rousing “Walls Come Tumbling Down” and the non-album single “Shout To The Top”.

Kicking off with the pertinent “Homebreakers”, the tone is set - 1985’s Britain under Thatcherism is a miserable place to be. They were not wrong. “All Gone Away”, despite its tuneful lilting acoustic backing, and “Come To Milton Keynes” continue in the same vein, then “Internationalists” raises the tempo, musically, with some poppy funk, although the cynical, world-weary message as the same. “A Stone’s Throw Away” is another cautionary, sad tale about Police and government brutality. Weller’s voice is so soulful but pointed on all this material.

“The Stand Up Comic’s Instructions” is a monologue delivered by Lenny Henry, as a bigoted Northern working mens’ club “concert secretary”. The depressing thing is, in 1985, dinosaurs like this still roamed the earth.

“A Man Of Great Promise” (to deceased poet Adrian Henri), the “Boy Who Cried Wolf" and “Down In The Seine” are all a bit of a throwback to the previous album. “The Lodgers” is another Style Council anti-Thatcher classic as is “With Everything To Lose” (later re-worked as “Have You Ever Had It Blue”).

The unique appeal of this album is that it message is so strong, so powerful, such a protest yet the music is uniformly so tuneful, often so light, so melodious. Weller has never sung better, either. Nobody else ever made political protest so musically enjoyable.

Although the rain macs and Gitanes had gone now, Weller and Talbot were now dressed in pure white denims for promotional photos. A terrible time, politically, but an even worse time for fashion.

B+

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