Tuesday, 14 August 2018
Holly Johnson - Blast (1989)
Released April 1989
After the somewhat unsurprising implosion of overnight sensations Frankie Goes To Hollywood, a shell-shocked Holly Johnson returned a few years later with this, his only successful solo album. It actually reached number one in the UK album charts.
It is actually a sort of synth pop album with hints of Latin carnival rhythms, electro pop, disco hooks and a camp effervescence. To be honest, it functions around three excellent cornerstones - the extended, hooky opener "Atomic City", which sounds like something The Clash may have done in their disco/hip hop/rock experimentations ("The Magnificent Seven", "Overpowered By Funk"); the impossibly catchy hit single "Americanos" and the wonderful, "Love Train". The latter has a fantastic refrain and sees Johnson providing one of his finest, energetic vocals. "You're a work of art, you're the Trevi Fountain..." is a great opening line. I have always really loved this song.
The remainder of the album is perfectly listenable, in a late eighties sort of way, but some of it strays uncomfortably into "filler" territory. "Heaven's Here" and "Deep In Love" are a bit more than that, while "Feel Good" is a sombre, downtempo ballad that works pretty well. Not of it is unlistenable, however, and the album is worthy of digging out every year or so, for a "blast".