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EXCLUSIVE

In case anyone had any doubts, the scale of Frankies ‘Pleasure Dome operation makes it clear: they want to be Britains No.1 group. And the band they have to knock off the top is Duran Duran.

In the past, Frankie have said some unkind things about the Duranies. And last week in No.1 Nick Rhodes and Simon Le Bon gave their opinions on Frankie.

Simon was positive. “I bloody love that group,” he enthused.

But Nick wasnt so sure. “Frankie who?” he asked…

With a split like that in the ranks, we couldnt resist asking Nick to review ‘Welcome To The Pleasure Dome. And he couldnt resist the challenge.. .

Naturally we wanted our own crack at it—and Debbi Voller drew the long straw…


FOR YOUR PLEASURE?

FRANKIE GOES TO HOLLYWOOD

Welcome To The Pleasure Dome (ZTT)

Frankie live in a world surrounded and protected by mentors. Their Daddy is the totally unbearable Mr Paul Morley, whose pretensions, phoney politics, and cheap tactics reside comfortably in the very Pleasure Dome itself.

One may ask “Who is Frankie?”

The sleeve reports “Frankie Goes To Hollywood happen to be…” followed by a list of names which appear to be coincidental. This is followed by “produced and all that, by Trevor C. Horn”.

Horn is admittedly a very talented man, responsible for many innovative, significant records over the past few years. His ability as a producer (and all that) has been proven with groups such as ABC, whose first album was fabulous—but the follow up (not a Trevor Horn production) was at best abysmal.

Frankie have undoubtedly made a big impact with their first two singles, two of the best of the past year. I wanted to like the album—and I do like some of it—but the garbage that comes with it, in the way of the sleeve, exudes a desperation to be controversial. But the propaganda and petty preaching arent very impressive, in fact theyre quite tedious, and controversial only for the sake of effect. The most interesting statement on the cover reads “…right now, what Frankie has to say is very entertaining. Right now Frankie is hip, but how long is he going to remain hip?”

The album begins in a grand orchestral/operatic manner. This is followed by something not dissimilar to Asian elevator music with somebody impersonating sheep.

(cont.)
Then there is a couple of minutes of synthesised zoo noises and to finish the side the title track ‘Welcome To The Pleasure Dome, a great groove that sounds more in line with the two classic singles.

Side two opens with ‘Relax followed by the first cover on the album—‘War (there goes that word again!). Its a good song and they fare OK on this one.

Finishing side two is the next war song ‘Two Tribes, which is by far the best and most original on the album. After hearing it much too often, it still sounds great.

And now for the real substance of the album. Cover number two is ‘Ferry Cross The Mersey, which seems to be pointless and not even amusing.

Cover number three, ‘Born To Run, was written a while back by Americas favourite old rocker Bruce Springsteen. Again it seems to be rather a pointless exercise. Its not as good as the original nor does it seem to be much different.

Next off is cover number four, ‘Do You Know The Way To San Josea badly misplaced extract from ‘The Very Best Of Perry Como.

‘Wish The Lads Were Here they almost made it, wins “best track of side three” award anyway.

Then we have a short interlude rather like a Monty Python version of a jousting duel on motorcycles.

Side three ends with something possibly salvaged from early Pink Floyd demo tapes.

Side four begins with ‘Krisco Kissesgood, interesting drums, inventive arrangement. This is followed by ‘Black Night/White Light. I like this track—banal lyrics, but the overall sound is quite powerful (a few sheep impressions). Good melodies.

The vocals on ‘The Only Star In Heaven sound like a refugee from the land of rapping.

Mmmmmm… Grand Master Frankie. Somehow a disco bass and one of the synths from ‘Relax appears to have escaped and been breeding on this track.

That said I still quite like this one—maybe its the relief of getting past side three.

‘The Power Of Love… what? This is a wimpering folkie ballad and possible competition for the next Englebert Humperdinck single. Frankie go for the mums.

For the finale ‘Bang is more like a mild tinkle. Frankie, say no more.

I say if side two was coupled with side four, minus ‘The Power Of Love, adding ‘Welcome To The Pleasure Dome, it would have made a considerably better and more pleasurable debut album.

The album will inevitably be a major success due to Frankies astounding hype machine and the fact there are a few excellent tracks on the album.

In summing up I think two members of the band, quoted on the cover, show both sides of Frankie. Holly Johnson: “…no-one has the right to tell me its immoral or selfish or wrong to do what I do.” Mark OToole: “So really, Im never honest. Ever. Everything I say is complete lies.”


FRANKIE GOES TO HOLLYWOOD

Welcome To The Pleasuredome (ZTT)

So what exactly is The Pleasuredome? Well the poet Coleridge says: “In Xanadu did Kubla Khan a stately pleasure dome decree.”

Graham Greene also wrote a book called Welcome To The Pleasuredome, a collection of essays on movies.

Now its the title of the debut double album from Frankie; an ambitious and epic production/presentation which will be hailed as the Ben Hur of the pop charts. Why, it almost sounds too big to fit into your living room!

What you get are half a dozen new Frankie songs, three new covers and all thats gone before, re-mixed with some vibrant instrumental snatches and various sound FX.

Its an entertaining hours worth. Though the concept of ‘the dome is in keeping with the urgency and vulgarity of ‘Relax, some of the new material keeps a surprisingly safe distance.

These tracks find Frankie in a Bee Gees kind of mood, an Andy Wiliams kind of style or a Frank Sinatra kind of song (wait till you hear the new single!). Theres even a Pink Floyd-like instrumental.

Frankly, Frankie, I dont give a damn who deserves more praise for all of this orginality—you or Trevor Horn.

What does matter is that youve given us a kick up the 80s and set new pop standards all round.