This is a diverse collection of groups and artists who either were part of the late seventies "new wave" or else had popularity in the early eighties (the bigger artists like Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson, The Pretenders, Graham Parker etc all have their own sections). The ones featured here are, in order - Nick Lowe: Rachel Sweet; The Rubinoos; Ian Dury & The Blockheads; Dexy's Midnight Runners; John Otway; Secret Affair; The Modern Lovers; The Tom Robinson Band; Doll By Doll; Tom Tom Club; Kid Creole & The Coconuts; Eurythmics; The Fine Young Cannibals and Sade....
As a teenage new wave fan in the great days of 1978-79 I always had a somewhat detached relationship with the work of Nick Lowe. Yes, I was familiar with his excellent singles of the period but I was much more drawn to Lowe's contemporaries Elvis Costello and Graham Parker, both of whom he notably produced albums for, and Joe Jackson also. I felt, at the time, that Lowe, despite his respect within the music media and among fans, was a bit of a smart-arse, far too clever for his own good. He was also guilty of railing in many of his songs about the ills of the music industry, while simultaneously trying to break into it. They all hated the music industry, didn't they - Costello, Parker, Lowe - yet they all wanted a place at its table.
The title of this album was, for whatever motive, a pretentious one and its alternative title and the one used in the US - Pure Pop For Now People - even more so. I felt back then that Lowe was a bit of a Bob Geldof-like figure - not the real deal but full of cynical comment, whereas those afore-mentioned artists were far more credible. I realise now that that was a somewhat ill-considered point of view and in re-assessing this album it gives me the opportunity to alter some of my feelings. For whatever reason, though, Lowe never really made it and the other artists did, which was a shame, as this album is up there with Costello's This Year's Model, for example.
What is not in doubt is that Lowe had an instinctive ear for a captivating hook and a Costello-like knack for coming up with killer, clever lines. Often cynical but with a cutting humour too. Listening to his stuff you can hear many other influences, but was Lowe the influencer? Possibly a bit of both. Back to this album - it is an interesting, intriguing and eminently listenable one that I find myself re-assessing positively. So there you go - and so it goes.
Little Hitler is a strange one, slightly underwhelming, musically, with Lowe enunciating "Hitler" as "Hiddler", irritatingly. Elvis Costello recorded a song called Two Little Hitlers the following year, which was a totally different much better track. The Squeeze-sounding Shake and Pop is an excellent, upbeat, barroom stomp of a diatribe against the music industry (surprise), while Tonight is a late fifties-early sixties-influenced number with Lowe giving his vocal an Elvis Costello tone. It is an understated grower of a track with some clear Velvet Underground influences on the vocals and general ambience, for me anyway. The quirky, catchy So It Goes was also a hit single and it a good track, very much under the influence of Thin Lizzy and Phil Lynott, both musically and lyrically.
Nutted By Reality is a a poppy, slightly Madness-esque song about Fidel Castro. It has an odd appeal. The short, thirty-three minute album ends with a frantic, breakneck live version of Heart Of The City, a single that Lowe recorded with Dave Edmunds under the Rockpile name. It is probably the punkiest thing Lowe ever did. Dr. Feelgood also recorded it and Elvis Costello has played it live many times. Bruce Springsteen paraphrased the "I want a thousand guitars" line in Radio Nowhere too, if you ask me. Look, this is a good album, showcasing a variety of styles within the basic new wave framework and I unfairly ignored it back in 1978. I stand accused.
** The non-album material from this period is extensive, almost like a second album. Because the original album is so short, you can listen to the whole lot without losing interest at all - anything but.
Shake That Rat is a Duane Eddy meets Dr. Feelgood to play some surf pop of an instrumental. I Love My Label is a cynical song about guess what - yes, the music industry. It has a nice bad-drum interplay bit at the end. They Called It Rock was a single by Rockpile and was an alternative, more rockabilly version of Shake and Pop. It would have fitted in fine on Elvis Costello's My Aim Is True album in some ways. It rocks lustily from beginning to end. Born A Woman was a cover of Sandy Posey's cynical 1966 country song. Lowe gives it a fine new wave makeover. Endless Sleep is a sombre, mournful vocal and bass number with Lowe's voice quiet and understated. Halfway To Paradise has Lowe and his band giving a sparkly new wave sheen to the Billy Fury song.
Cruel To Be Kind was Lowe's biggest hit the following years, 1979, but the version here is the original Brinsley Schwarz single from 1974, for which Lowe admitted using the bass line from Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes' The Love I Lost, a record he loved. It is amazing how much of a new wave sound it had for a song recorded back in 1974. The eventual single was such a part of 1979 and very nostalgic for me, almost as much as any song. The original Rockpile single, Heart Of The City, is punkily appealing, although the live version is better. The final extra cut is the Dr. Feelgood-ish thrash of I Don't Want To Night To End.
So, there you go, despite my misgivings about some of Lowe's approach, I like this album. I would say, though, that despite having been remastered, the sound is still a little too indistinct for my liking, which is surprising as it is a Vic Anesini remaster. There always was a track-to-track disparity in the sound's quality, though - some were better than others, which remains one of the album's frustrations. It can be forgiven due to the songs' hooky appeal, nevertheless. Good album. Lowe is pictured above with Wreckless Eric, a bemused-looking Elvis Costello, Larry Wallis and Ian Dury.
Born Fighter is melodic, sort of Dr Feelgood-ish (slightly) rocker with big hints of Squeeze in there too. You Make Me is a short, acoustic and vocal Costello-ish ballad. Skin Deep is almost late sixties-early seventies David Bowie in places and has that acoustic-electric guitar interplay that Bowie did so well. The enjoyable, riffy rock of Switchboard Susan is actually also very Costello-influenced, for me anyway, with hints of Paul McCartney too. Endless Grey Ribbon is also in that Squeeze country rock style. Without Love is another poppy piece of country-ish acoustic-electric rock and Dose Of You is similarly pop in its vibe.
Considered the cute jewel in Stiff's largely drab, male crown, Rachel Sweet briefly was a cool name to drop when speaking of the new wave. It didn't last, though, neither did her reported dalliance with Bruce Springsteen. I remember this coming out on Stiff Records back in 1978, from the then 16 year-old Rachel Sweet. I felt it was the sort of thing I ought to like, being a new waver keen to hoover up as much new product as possible, but I never got round to it. I recall a few tracks but that's it, so here I am over forty years later. The album reminds me in some ways of label-mate Nick Lowe's output from the same period.
Just My Style is a relatively unremarkable, clunky opener before we get a gloriously raunchy, gritty cover of Carla Thomas's B-A-B-Y driven along by some great Stax-y horns. A really great track is the bassy, slightly funky and riffy shuffling groove of Who Does Lisa Like. Great saxophone on it too - corker of a track.
Wildwood Saloon is a cynical country ballad. Dusty Springfield's Stay Awhile is given a Spectoresque production featuring a stonking saxophone solo. The once more vaguely funky Suspended Animation is another good one, with an opening riff just like Blondie's One Way Or Another with Rachel delivering a Debbie Harry-esque vocal to boot. More great saxophone to be found here as well. It's So Different here is a quirky, odd-sounding number with some slight reggae tinges while Cuckoo Clock is probably the album's most new wave-punk number with more Debbie Harry sound-alike vocals. It's great - I love its vitality. Pin A Medal On Mary sounds like Marc Bolan has arrived on guitar and sounds like a Nick Lowe song, but isn't it. Girl With A Synthesiser is a rollicking piece of country new wave, if indeed there could be such a thing. Rachel's bar-room cover of Elvis Costello's Stranger In The House shows just what fine country songs Costello could write. An interesting, vibrant and fun album. Shame it went under many people's radars.
* An excellent bonus track is a superb cover of Del Shannon's I Go To Pieces. A track that appeared on the US album but not the UK one. It should have done - it's probably the best track of the lot. Another recognisable bonus track is Sad Song, which appeared on Ellen Foley's 1979 Night Out album.
In the spring-summer of 1978, this was rarely off my turntable. The Rubinoos flourished somehow, briefly, while the flames of punk burned around them. These weren't no anarchists, no nihilists, no blank generation. They were clean-cut Southern Californian kids brought up on mom's cookies and ice cream while watching Saturday morning cartoons. They were the well-brought up children of The Monkees and The Beach Boys, cousins to The Archies and Tommy James And The Shondells. Strangely, they were accepted by a fair amount of the punk/new wave following and gigged regularly on the same circuit. I saw them play at my local club Friars, Aylesbury a couple of months after seeing The Clash and a couple of weeks before The Buzzcocks. They caught on with the "power pop" audience. Indeed, their I Think We're Alone Now was regularly played over the PA at Friars at the end of the evening after the main band had gone off stage as we all trooped out.
The old "side two" opens with the beautiful extended ballad, Memories, and their obvious nod to The Beach Boys, the identically-titled Wouldn't It Be Nice, which is a classic in itself. Nothing A Little Love Won't Cure and I Never Thought It Would Happen are both examples of melodic, singalong pop perfection. Make It Easy is a hooky, summery driving along with the radio on song. Apart from Peek-A-Boo, there aren't any poor tracks on this album. Stick this on on a hot summers afternoon. For me, its instantly 1978 again.
The album is more of the same fare as the previous years’ debut - Beach Boys and 60s bubblegum pop influenced “power pop”. They had a fine ear for a tune and Rubin’s voice is crystal clear once again.
Qualifying as weaker, "filler" tracks are Hold Me and 1-2-3 Forever while Falling In Love, Ronnie and Jennifer are ok in that goofy, teenager in love sort of way. An inessential album, but always a pleasure to listen to it again. Very nostalgic for me.
The second disc has some excellent live material from a concert at London's Paris theatre in July 1978. I saw Dury on the same tour so his brings back great memories. Nice to finally have some live stuff from a time when Ian & The Blockheads were at their peak. I saw Dury three times at Friars, Aylesbury (posters below). For more information on Dury at Friars, Aylesbury, check out https://www.aylesburyfriars.co.uk.
Oh, how I digress, I haven't talked about the original album yet! Of course, it is jam-packed with Dury classics - the amusing and tuneful Wake Up And Make Love With Me; the upbeat, joyous rock n roll thump of Sweet Gene Vincent; the funky, appealing I'm Partial To Your Abracadabra and Dury's tender song about his father, My Old Man.
Billericay Dickie is an affectionate piece of music hall-influenced nonsense. Clevor Trever is another semi-funky, organ-driven slow burner featuring Dury's best cockney vocals. If I Was With A Woman a sad yearning little ditty, with its "look at them laughing" pathos in its self-deprecating lyrics. Blockheads and Plaistow Patricia (with its shocking vocal intro) are two cacophonous belters with Dury ranting about blockheads and poor old slapper Patricia. Blackmail Man ends the album in even more frenetic, shrieking nature. This album is great fun, basically. Nothing more, nothing less. It stands as a complete one-off - not punk, not new wave, occupying a position all of its own. This version is a good one to own because of all the extra material.
Don't Ask Me is another piece of urban white funk. It is perfectly listenable, but somehow, for me, the novelty of the first album doesn't quite repeat itself on this one, despite the quality backing. That is a little bit unfair, but much of the album ploughs the same furrow. Sink My Boats has vague punky hints in places, but there is still a solid funky guitar riff underpinning it and some disco synthesisers. Waiting For Your Taxi is a brooding, sonorous somewhat dirge-like grinder. This Is What We Find is a very Madness-esque number, even down Dury's Suggs-style vocal on the chorus. There is a good dubby bit in the middle too. By the way, the rear cover is also very Madness-inspired.
Kevin Rowland’s Dexy’s Midnight Runners first incarnation were an odd creation - a nine strong band dressed like travelling construction workers, in donkey jackets and wooly hats, carrying Adidas sports bags for some never-known reason. They emerged at the turn of the decade between the seventies and the eighties and combined punk’s vigour, vitality and youthful anger with a love for Motown, Atlantic, Stax and Northern Soul. Their sound was big, punchy and horn-driven. The band were often lumped in with the “ska”-two tone” revival but they were not really part of that. They were unique, to be honest. They were a brass-based soul-rock band.
The quality returns, thankfully, for the final track - a slice of classic Dexy’s, There There My Dear, with a massive bass line, energetic brass riffs and Rowland doing his best Chairmen Of The Board “brrrr” vocal. Half of this album was a wonderful, knockout breath of fresh air, the remainder not quite cutting the mustard, but, overall, listening to it every now and again is an enjoyable experience. The sound quality is excellent throughout on the latest remaster.
The clear Van Morrison influence was cemented by a credible, enjoyable cover of Jackie Wilson Said (I'm In Heaven When You Smile). Old is a mournful, sombre ballad, lifted by its excellent brass backing, and Plan B continues in the same vein until about a minute and a half when the horns kick it into orbit and the last three minutes are a glorious throwback to the energy and sheer joie de vivre of the first album. It merges straight into the similarly upbeat I'll Show You. Rowland sounds like Billy Bragg in the final spoken fade-out. Liars A To E is vaguely Beatles-esque and is also quite soulful in places. These last three tracks have probably formed the best passage of the album.
Then there is Come On Eileen. Yes, everyone knows it as a drunken end of student disco song, wedding song, stag night song, hen night song, whatever. So what, it will last forever. It is the odd, temperamental, quirky Kevin Rowlands' finest few minutes. "You in that dress, my thoughts I confess, verge on dirty....". Priceless.
many times. Otway is known for his madcap live shows and has always had a small but dedicated cult following who lap up his somewhat contrived lunacy with endless appetite and enthusiasm. Fair enough. However, I have to say (maybe controversially) that the expected wackiness of it all used to irritate me, considerably.
"You miserable old whatever..." I hear you say - "he was great, really funny". Yes, maybe, if that is your taste. For me, though, I always felt the staged idiocy overshadowed the fact that Otway was/is a great songwriter and people really didn't give his songs the credit they deserved.
Louisa On A Horse, or "Ohwwn An 'Awwss" as he sings, with its Buckinghamshire location name checks; the loopy Beware Of The Flowers; the ludicrous Oh My Body Is Making Me and the semi-"hit" Really Free.
Also, check out the "Otway with strings" orchestrated version of Geneve. It shows his music/songwriting off to a high degree. This is what he deserved.
The picture is from John Otways' famous free concert in Aylesbury's Market Square on 13th August 1978. I was there. More details can be found on the excellent Friars Aylesbury website -
Glory Boys is impressive as well, and there are the two hit singles Let Your Heart Dance and the rousing call-to-arms of Time For Action - with its “we hate the punk elite” line. Punks - elite? Hmmm. Days Of Change also taps into the slightly half-baked “mod revival” mood. One Way World is catchy as well. They also do a credible cover of Smokey Robinson & The Miracles’ Going To A Go-Go. I saw the band live in 1979 at Canterbury Odeon and they were really good. After this, they faded away, despite a couple more excellent singles on their next album in My World and Sound Of Confusion. Shame, as they seemed to have something about them.
The Modern Lovers - The Modern Lovers (1976)
This is a most intriguing "new wave" album. Released in 1976, produced by the Velvet Underground's John Cale, and featuring the enigmatic singer Jonathan Richman as well as future Talking Head keyboardist Jerry Harrison it contained music recorded in 1971 and 1972. It became one of the first "proto-punk" records, along with Television's Marquee Moon. Give me this any day though. What an incredible creation it is - new wave five years before it even existed. Despite that, apart from Roadrunner, it still slipped under many people's radar at the time. Its critical kudos was garnered over subsequent years.
Yes, it contains huge Velvet Underground influences, but geeky, fey singer Richman was certainly no drug-addled Lou Reed, bringing a teenage angstiness and naivête to the music. the Modern Lovers' garage band-style rough enthusiasm lends the album a freshness and vigour too. Were there geeky anti-heroes in rock music in 1972? No sir. Jonathan Richman made the mould, paving the way for the Costellos, Byrnes, Ramones, Parkers, Jacksons, Shelleys, Devotos and Durys. Richman had that David Byrne college boy look five years before Talking Heads' first album.
The iconic, pounding, minamalist yet intrinsically poppy and singalong Roadrunner appears here in its original organ-driven magnificence (there are several versions of the song, all of which are great, but this one has a loose, rawness that is most appealing). Get hold of Roadrunner (Twice) if you can too, as that is equally wonderful. Did anyone really record stuff like this in 1972? Sure, these guys did.
Astral Plane is a superb track, full of Doors, Velvet Underground and Iggy Pop before Iggy Pop vibes. It cooks along in beautifully deep bass drums and organ style and I love it, just as I do the extremely Velvet Underground punchy rock of Old World. Richman's vocals and lyrics are very Lou Reed as is the underlying chugging riff. It does sound somewhat like Roadrunner in places, but no matter.
David Bowie covered the once more very Velvety chug of Pablo Picasso on his 2003 album, Reality. Listen to that mid-song guitar - straight from late sixties VU. "Pablo Picasso was never called an asshole..." states Richman, defiantly, to all those who may want to call him one. The proto-Joy Division-ish She Cracked is probably the closest Richman got to Reed's urban disaffection as he rants over a frantically raw, edgy riff. The sombre Hospital is a sort of Sister Morphine meets Heroin bleak number too. Once more, the vocal is totally Reed-inspired.
Someone I Care About is a magnificently pumping, organ-powered piece of psychedelic sixties rock all grown-up. Does it not qualify as being one of the first punk (US style) records? I can't get enough of its deep, grinding sound. I think one of the regular contributors to my site will love it, without even asking him. Girl Friend has Richman going all teenage boy romantic in what would become true late seventies anti-hero, paranoid, self-conscious fashion. This lovely little song was way, way, way, way ahead of its time. Love it. The original album's other nugget is the Roadrunner mark two glory that is Modern World - those riffs, the Roxy Music-ish keyboard madness, Richman's drawly, bored-sounding vocal, all combine together to give the modern world a true modern wave classic. I'm in love with the modern world indeed.
** Some great non-album tracks are the upbeat, paranoid rock of Dignified And Old ("some day we'll be dignified and old" - Hey Jonathan - I'm already there) - and the critically-lauded I'm Straight where Richman tells us he is no drugged-up hippy, he is just ordinary. He made it all possible for ordinary callow youths such as myself have a great time in 1977-78. Government Center is a Ramones-ish handclappy piece of 1973 (yes, 1973) punk, as is the also very proto-Ramones I Wanna Sleep In Your Arms.
Then we get the quirky, tongue-in-cheek piano-driven jaunty rock of Grey Cortina, with its name check for Bruce Springsteen (who not everybody had heard of at the time, believe it or not), followed by the laid-back but cynical, slightly bluesy Too Good To Be True. Old Tom (or young Tom as he was) had his finger on the pulse of contemporary UK politics, for sure. There was always something comfortably atmospheric about the melody of this song, if the doesn't sound too oxymoronic. Maybe only I know what I mean. It just brings to mind nights coming home from the pub in 1978, for some reason. It had a tune that I was always singing to myself. I think they now call it an "earworm".
The rocking, anthemic Winter Of 79 precedes the post apocalyptic, unnerving run of tracks that begins with the disconcerting, frantic future shock of The Man You Never Saw, the confrontational, anti-racist You Better Decide Which Side You're On and the disturbing post-nuclear bluesy rock grind of You Gotta Survive. Even now, every time I hear this song it gives me the shivers, so I will include all the lyrics below-
The original album ends with the totemic Power In The Darkness, complete with its magnificent spoken word bit in the middle, parodying a bigoted Tory MP. Marvellous stuff, especially if you're eighteen, as I was at the time. Angry young men couldn't have asked for more. They still shouldn't either, it is just as relevant today.
Possibly the standout tracks are the hard-hitting, atmospheric protest song concerning the death in Police custody of Liddle Towers, Blue Murder and the chunky Peter Gabriel co-written Bully For You. It was mainly written, however, by Robinson aiming barbs at recently-departed drummer Dolphin Taylor in a sort of Lennon at McCartney way. There was probably no need for it, but it is a strong song all the same. Blue Murder finds Robinson on more comfortable ground, railing against a tragic injustice.
Despite all that, and the fact that it was one of the punk/new wave era's biggest disappointments, I still have a great deal of nostalgic affection for this album. I really liked those first seven tracks. All in all, though, it was a real shame that these two albums were the only ones TRB released. They were great while they lasted. It all just fizzled out so soon, way before it should have done. Quite why will never really be known. It was a fire that extinguished far too early after it had burned so brightly. But what a great twenty-odd songs Tom and his mates gave us. Cheers. Yellow and black stencilled heaven. The one time I saw them live - October 1978 at Friars, Aylesbury remains one of my favourite gigs, to this day.
For more information on Tom Robinson at Friars, Aylesbury, check out https://www.aylesburyfriars.co.uk
This album, and indeed the group, are virtually impossible to categorise. Released in early 1979, as punk was still around and post-punk was all over the place. This sounds by its name cover and general image as if it were a post-punk record, but it was not. It was not really like Public Image Ltd, Magazine, Joy Division or Echo & The Bunnymen. In fact, I can honestly say I don't what they were, or what the album is/was.
Doll By Doll were a band formed in London in 1977, but fronted by charismatic and highly perceptive, intelligent Dundonian front man Jackie Leven. They had the inscrutable, enigmatic lyrics of the post-punkers, and the somewhat dull image. The music, however, was another story. It was crammed full of effervescent guitars. Guitar riffs, guitar solos, pulsating, muscular drums all topped off by Leven's dominant, commanding and often extremely moving voice.
Sleeping Partners is an excellent, upbeat rocking, new wave-style number with echoes of Elvis Costello in it and some noir lyrics. There are touches of Joe Jackson cropping up too in the song's adventurous seven minutes. Then at the end, the guitar is so Siouxsie & The Banshees. The vocal goes all Public Image Ltd. These songs really do merit repeated listens. So much is happening. More Than Human starts with a Talking Heads Psycho Killer sort of feel to it in its rumbling, menacing intro. When Leven and the rest of the band kick in there is real rock majesty to it and some quirky David Byrne-influenced vocal delivery.
Human Face is another muscular mid-tempo but powerful number and Hey Sweetheart once again has Leven on peerless vocal form. There really wasn't anything else like this around in 1979. It is too joyous to be post-punk, yet too intense to be catchy new wave, too serious to be rock yet in possession of a rock'n'roll ear for a melody.
Binary Fiction begins with a funky guitar and has a Talking Heads 77 feel about it. Hell Games is another beguiling song, with the usual perplexing lyrics, a post-punky drum rhythm yet vocals that go all over the place. This is certainly no dour, doom-laden song. Forbidden Worlds is light and uplifting in many ways. Full of sixties psychedlia-influences, maybe Love, or something like that, but in a late seventies setting, with a late seventies brashness of sound. Check out the bluesy vibe of Highland Rain, again, impossible to give a name to. Its guitar solo near the end is quality. Like a madcap prog-rock.
This really is a superb, unknown album. I can't recommend it enough. I believe the band, at the time, had a confrontational attitude with the music media and sometimes even with their own audience, and they just sort of imploded, which was a shame, because they really had something. Jackie Leven, however, went on to produce several similarly challenging solo albums.
While after listening to the album's original eight tracks I have probably sated my appetite somewhat for this detached, cool dance fare, I cannot deny the cultural importance of this piece of work. It laid the foundations for so much eighties dance-club oriented material.
After a couple of lesser-known “cult” albums, this was the big commercial breakthrough for Kid Creole (August Darnell) & The Coconuts. To be honest, it was probably their only memorable album. Released in 1982, it attracted the New Romantic crowd, also those who wanted a bit of Latin dance rhythms, and the new wavers didn’t dismiss it either. Darnell was apparently not too happy with the eventual commercial sound, which was a hybrid of addictive, percussion and keyboard-based Latin rhythms, some disco funk bass and brass sections and an ear for a catchy tune. Darnell’s voice was melodious and understated and The Coconuts’ backing vocals were present on most tracks, Latin-style. The rhythms were based around Salsa, merengue and bits of calypso thrown in. Darnell’s lyrics were often subtly witty too.
Imitation is another Latin disco groove, with a pounding rhythm and yet more excellent brass parts, as is I'm Corrupt, which has a captivating rhythmic percussive intro and some great backing vocals, plus some strange dog barking sound effects and “I’m a dirty dog” vocals. The grooves are always insistent throughout the album, often featuring that steel band style keyboard sound and “woop woop” backing vocals. Guitars are often funky, wah-wah in style, a bit like those used a lot by Shalamar at the time as well. Even a slower, romantic track like Loving You has a more soulful vocal but still utilises the same style of backing. The Love We Have is delightfully cool, dreamy and summery with an excellent lengthy instrumental intro. The closer, No Fish Today is quite calypso-influenced and has some lovely piano and a funky bass intro.
In the summer of 1982, every girl you met seemed to have this album on cassette in her flat or in her car, along with ABC and Level 42’s first album. It did really well in the early twenty-something female market. It seemed to fit the carefree, lively years of the early 1980s. I saw the group live twice in this period and they put on a great show. Unfortunately, it never got much better than this for them.
I'm Not Satisfied has an addictive, dance groove with a big, fat bass sound and another hooky, easy to catch on to, vocal. This is impressive contemporary dance pop for its era. Tell Me What merges fifties doo-wop with a light vaguely reggae-influenced skanking, lilting rhythm. Don't Look Back is an upbeat, energetic and very catchy number full of jangly new-wave style style guitars. It's OK, It's Alright is a harmless enough dance chugger.
** The bonus track You Never Know is excellent - a slow, melodic groove. A bit reminiscent of The Christians from the same period. It should have been on the album, there was easily room. The other bonus, Social Security, is a fifties-influenced odd number - a love song to signing on. Strange as none of the group probably were signing on. The extended dance grooves included as well are all enjoyable and very late eighties. This was a vibrant and vivacious album. One of the best of its year. It was a pity that the group didn't do anything else after this.