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Title: This four-track Holly Johnson compilation...
Author: Caren Myers
Source: Melody Maker
Publish date: July 28, 1990

THIS four-track HOLLY JOHNSON compilation, ”BLAST”, is pretty much what you’d expect: ingratiating little Holly going through his costume changes. These sorts of antics, unlike the tape (MCA, £7.99), do not have a long shelf-life.

The best of the lot, “Love Train”, may have seemed pink-faced and cherubic last year, but now is about as youthful as a fossilised prune. The singing rhododendrons and Magic Roundabout-type scenery are still cute, as is Holly’s elfin dancing, but they’re squelched by Holly’s patent insincerity when mouthing the OTT lurve lyrics.

“Americanos” has the advantage of a social conscience - that is, it is set in a Fifties kitsch world where poor families have better luck at the lottery than rich families. A gold-suited Holly pops up as a game show host and delivers enough “onhonhonhons” to see us through the winter.

“Atomic City” looks the same - blue skies and bright primary colours - but throws in a gravestone, a picnicking couple, Holly wearing a palm tree on his head and all the dancing extras from “Rhythm Nation”.

“Heaven’s Here” is the stab at sophistication (ie it’s in black and white), with much slow and stagey footage of groping hands. Holly raises his eyebrows a lot in this one. Not exactly going to make rock history now, is it?

Holly’s problem is that he’s a pop star without charisma. This hasn’t stopped Big Fun you might say, but Holly could do better, He doesn’t even try. He minces through his scenes as if the mere shrug of his shoulders were enough to elicit an awestruck response. It isn’t.

CAREN MYERS