Palmer’s 1980 album Clues reflects his rock and new wave tendencies, with rippling synthesizers and driving guitars. Two popular singles from the album, Looking for Clues and Johnny and Mary helped establish the singer as a significant hit-maker.
At the time Clues was recorded, Palmer was playing on the TALKING HEAD’s Remain In Light sessions and was heavily influenced by GARY NUMAN, and all of them wind up playing on the tracks here. “Looking for Clues,” is a clever slice of new wave pop that surprises the listener with an unexpected xylophone solo, and “Johnny and Mary,” a moody synth-driven ballad with perceptive lyrics about a doomed romantic relationship both are the highlights on this fantastic album. There is also an impressive cover of GARY NUMAN’s “I Dream of Wires” that not only retains the chilly electronic grandeur of the original it also features a new rhythm arrangement that makes the song dance-friendly and gives it his own touch. Some other great songs are “Sulky Girl,” “What Do You Care,” “Woke Up Laughing” and a cover of THE BEATLES “Not A Second Time.” The sound on this remaster is crisp and clear, and you can hear the subtle sounds that were missing on the original tracks. The very cool packaging makes this album into a small version of how it looked originally on vinyl and really is a treat.
The end result is a bit short (it clocks in at barely over thirty minutes), but it remains one of his strongest and most consistent albums. This album is a must for Robert Palmer fans and worth a spin for anyone into new wave.