THE BUGGLES: Age Of Plastic: CD

 

 

The Age of Plastic is the debut studio album written, produced and performed by British new wave duo The Buggles, which consisted of Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes. With the big hit “Video Killed The Radio Star,” this album became a real worldwide success. This deluxe edition features three bonus tracks.

The Buggles have a place in music history because “Video Killed The Radio Star” was the first music video shown on MTV, but don’t think that this album is just that one song, it has a lot more to  offer. “Kid Dynamo,” is a great song with electric guitars and strings that propel the song along. “I Love You (Miss Robot)” has great female vocals midway through the song and its synthesized vocals make this seem like it was the future at the time. “Clean, Clean” has a slow beginning before going full force with guitar and drums, and has an inspired synthesizer solo in the middle of the song. “Johnny On The Monorail” is a quick-paced soundscape of synthesizer playing. The bonus songs add some depth, and time to this short album. The three bonus tracks on this reissue are; the delightful lite-reggae “Island,” the quirky “Technopop,” and a different version of “Johnny On The Monorail.” The remastering job makes this a lot clearer and crisper, you can hear sounds and bleeps that were hidden on the original release, plus the quieter passages no longer have that mild hissing noise.

A great album that holds up just as well now as it did when it was first released and actually may be just as relevant of technology taking over. Grab this and relive the fun and excitement of early new wave, just remember to play it loud.

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NEW ORDER: Music Complete: CD

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Music Complete is New Order’s tenth studio album, and it’s the first batch of new songs they’ve recorded since 2005’s Waiting For The Sirens’ Call. This is the first album since the departure of bassist Peter Hook and reintroducing original keyboardist Gillian Gilbert back into the fold.

“Restless” is their leadoff single and is a little bit mellow, but still a very good song with a nice groove to it, but “Singularity” is a real corker that should have started the album. It is faster and has more of those old, peppy dance songs that they do so well. “Plastic” is another fantastic track that gives you a lot of the classic music they have put out, but still keeps things very much modern. You also get La Roux’s Elly Jackson on the great tracks“Plastic,” “Tutti Frutti,” and “People on the High Line,” Iggy Pop on “Stray Dog’” and longtime fan and friend Brandon Flowers on “Superheated.” The band have really gotten back into the mindset of putting out an album that gets you dancing, but also thinking about their lyrics. The music takes you back more into the ’80s, but not in sound, but in style of the album.

A great release that will have you singing and dancing along to the songs for a long time. Don’t worry, that guy who isn’t in the band anymore isn’t missed too badly since new bassist Tom Chapman handles those duties quite well.

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KISSING THE PINK: Naked CD [Expanded Edition]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thirty two years after its original release sees the first CD reissue of the debut album by new wave synthpop pioneers Kissing The Pink in a digitally remastered and expanded edition. This special edition includes the twelve original album tracks, plus seven related bonus tracks all sourced from the original master tapes. All the tracks have been sourced from the original production master tapes, the CD booklet features the original album front cover plus, extensive sleeve notes with band members sharing their memories of the period and a UK discography.

I remember back when this album came out, I heard the song “Watching Their Eyes” on radio station CFNY and taped it, and loved it. I spent a long time trying to find the album, but no one seemed to carry it and I had to settle for that one song. One day I was out with my mom shopping at Zellers, a low priced chain store, I know, how cool of me, and saw this album in the cut out bin in their music department and almost died…my album that I have been looking all over for, now just $3.99. I had to have it and got my mom to buy it for me, and played the hell out of it. Now this new remastered CD is out and I couldn’t be happier to have it. I have played this album over and over and read the booklet a few times over too. To have “Watching Their Eyes” uncut from the radio, and the remix of this song, it has been fantastic to say the least. There are more great songs on here too, “Mr. Blunt,” “Last Film,” and “Big Man Restless.” The great thing is the added remixes which add to the album so much. The album is dancey and esoteric at the same time, something that bands in the ’80s grasped well.

With great sound, and bonus tracks, this is a very welcome addition to my collection and should be one in yours. This band went a fair bit more commercial later on and this shows the more edgy side of their music. A great album that still sounds fresh and exciting.

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WANG CHUNG: Mosaic: CD

Mosaic - Paper Sleeve - CD Deluxe Vinyl Replica - Import

Mosaic is Wang Chung’s fourth album and third on Geffen Records. Released in 1986, Mosaic was commercially successful due to three singles: “Everybody Have Fun Tonight” (reached a high of #2 on the Billboard Hot 100), “Let’s Go!” (#9 on the Hot 100) and “Hypnotize Me” (#36 on the Hot 100). Mosaic earned a Gold rating by the RIAA, and hit #41 on the Billboard 200 album charts.

Now that we have the stats out-of-the-way, let me just say that their second album, Points On The Curve is an album that I can listen to over and over again and hasn’t dated as much as this one has. Yes, this has “That Song” on here that everyone knows and thinks is the only hit that they had…WRONG! Sadly the song was cheesy when it came out and people laughed at the chorus then, as they still do now. I blame you Peter Wolf! Once you get past that song, (luckily it’s the first one on the album), you get better songs that are more deserving of your attention. “Let’s Go!” is the standout track for me since it does have a more pop sound than their previous album, but it still retained the spirit of the band’s sound, a classic track that stands the test of time…and you can dance to it too. “Hypnotize Me” and “The Flat Horizon” are a pair of great tracks that keep you wanting to hear them over and over again. “The World In Which We Live” is another song that I hit the replay button to hear again. These are the standouts to me, the songs that are truly ones that haven’t out stayed their welcome and are always a treat to hear. The other songs are alright, nothing to get crazy about, some slower tracks and some that are just nice, but they still deserve to be heard. The band sounds tight on here, not a note out-of-place, but it was the ’80s and by this time, there was no messing about in the studio, the producers were throwing everything into to sink and hoping it would work. The sound is great on this remaster, clear with the ability to hear little nuances that you couldn’t hear before, plus the way that it looks just like it did on vinyl is too cool.

So, an album with one of the most familiar and played (played out), songs is out there with a great sound and excellent packaging, just beware of “THAT SONG,” it may drive you crazy, but it’s worth the effort to hear the others on the album. I’m a fan of the band since I first heard them back in the early ’80s and always will be, so I’m glad that I get the chance to hear this album again and give it another shot.

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STRANGE CRUISE: Strange Cruise: CD

Strange Cruise was a short-lived 1980s British pop rock group, fronted by former Visage singer Steve Strange and Wendy Cruise (aka Wendy Wu, the former singer of The Photos). The band released only one, self-titled album in 1986 and it has been remastered and expanded because of the rarity and demand by fans.

Well after all these years this hard to find album is out in the shops and it really is an artifact of the time period. The production is over the top, the songs are in the vein of the poppiest of pop from the era, it’s a mix of Haircut 100 and Culture Club, and about as deep as a puddle after a light drizzle. Yes it’s interesting to hear the mix of Strange’s and Cruise’s voices, but is it really what the man who fronted the preeminent new romantic band’s desire to do this the way it’s presented? I guess you can only be influential and not too well off, when bands like Duran Duran, and Spandau Ballet who started as new romantics had become worldwide sensations and insanely rich as well, and you are standing on the sidelines watching this unfold in front of you. Strange said that the label didn’t get behind the album, but maybe it was the choice of singles that were picked poorly, “Animal Call” is a pretty good song, very catchy, “Hit And Run” was another one that could have been a single, as well as “Love Addiction.” The singles chosen were wrong in my mind “Rebel Blue Rocker” and “The Beat Goes On” are very weak and overdone and don’t give this a great light to shine on the rest of the album. The sound is fairly clear, but being this is from the era of loading the album full of overproduction and tons of layers, it still is clear and crisp.

The album is a must for any completist of Steve Strange’s music and also if you are a fan of The Photos, but don’t think that you will playing this as much as either of those artist’s other albums. It’s sad that Strange has passed away, but at least we got another Visage album from him so we wouldn’t be stuck with this a his farewell to us.

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BLANCMANGE: Happy Families Too…: CD

Blancmange was formed in Harrow, Middlesex in 1979 by singer Neil Arthur (born 15 June 1958, Darwen, Lancashire) and instrumentalists Stephen Luscombe (born 29 October 1954, Hillingdon, Middlesex) and Laurence Stevens. Stevens left shortly after the band was formed, and Arthur and Luscombe continued as a duo. Their debut album, Happy Families (which featured a sleeve painting in the style of Louis Wain and of the cover artwork of Enid Blyton’s books), reached the top 30. This is the revamped and re-recorded first album without partner Luscombe.

I loved the original album when it first came out and played it all of the time and was a bit scared as to how this would turn out. My fears were unfounded, he has done an amazing job with this album and the versions on here. Everything is fairly faithful to the originals except the technology has been updated and it sounds less raw now, but I really didn’t mind that. You can hear how he has taken the album and changed a few things, like the difference between the original version of “Living On The Ceiling,” and the version on here which is a bit stiffer, and the waves taken off of “Waves.” It was a nice touch to add the b-side of “Living On The Ceiling,” “Running Thin.” The four bonus remixes at the end are a nice update to the originals, especially “Feel Me (Greg Wilson & Derek Kaye Remix),” and “God’s Kitchen (Komputer Remix).”

This won’t please everyone, but if you come into it with an open mind and think about how Arthur probably gets bored of hearing it the same way for over thirty years now, and he just wanted to kick it up a notch. I’m glad that he did it and hopefully it gets people back into his band, as well as other bands from this era that are still out there making music and trying to do things a bit differently.

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NAKED EYES: Fuel For The Fire: CD

Fuel for the Fire was the 1984 follow-up album to their successful debut. The band had top 40 success with the first single off the album, “(What) In the Name of Love,” which reached #39 in the US on the Billboard Hot 100 and, in a remix also produced by Arthur Baker, #35 on the dance chart. The album peaked at #83 on the Billboard Top 200 albums chart. Whilst being a relatively modest hit, it had not matched the commercial and critical success of their debut; in the UK, neither the album nor its single had charted. Baker remixed another track he had produced for the duo, “Sacrifice,” but the record company never released a followup to the top 40 lead single and Naked Eyes disbanded following the underwhelming reception of this album. This album and its seven bonus tracks appear on CD for the first time. The bonus material features 12″ versions of “(What) In The Name Of Love,” and Arthur Baker’s mix of “Sacrifice,” two b-sides “Two Heads Together,” and (What) In The Name Of Love (Byrne & Fisher Mix),” and three previously unreleased demos of “Fuel For The Fire,” “Sacrifice,” and “Babes In Armour.” These demos have come from Pete Byrne’s (the surviving member of the band, Rob Fisher passed away in 1999) archives.

Not just giving us a chance to hear this album remastered, but also to have a chance to re-evaluate it after all these years, it shows that it was a lot better than the chart showing. Lots of peppy synth-pop that is chock full of hooks and the (What) In The Name Of Love (Byrne & Fisher Mix) is great, a minimal synth tune that sounds great in this version too. It’s great to hear the album so clearly and it really lets you hear the effects that you may have missed all those years ago. The potential second single “Sacrifice,” is a great song that would have been fantastic to have been heard on the radio back then, but at least we get to hear it now. The demo versions sound very slick and really show that they knew the direction and sound of the songs before they went and tightened them up.

This is a great album, one that I, and a lot of others had been looking forward to seeing released again, and every bit worth the wait. Great notes from Pete Byrne and cool pictures add to the total package, but the fine job of remastering the album really makes this release shine.

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