SINGLE OF THE WEEK
THE POGUES ‘A Pair Of Brown Eyes’ (Stiff) Through a whiskey ‘n’ shit world of grey suits and large pubs with cobbled yards, the Pogues touch on a sensibility rare indeed amongst the wide smile of pop 40. There’s a maudlin rub to their work—
YOU HAVE to be tough like… WAYNE SMITH’s ‘Under Me Sleng Tong’ (Greensleeves). Big in the manor for a while now, ‘Sleng Teng’s rushing electroed rhythm is one of the checkpoints on an increasingly diverse reggae scene. Fast style, electro touches and altogether sharper production standards lie, NYC recording studios) are making the rockers top 10 just about the healthiest place to be these days.
And right there in the middle is Mr BARRINGTON LEVY, his ‘Murderer’ (Jah Life) is a delicious slow burn built around a strictly legal, concrete hard drum/ bass foundation and delivered with a side plate of sweetness itself… while PAUL BLAKE AND BLOODFIRE POSSE’s ‘Every Posse Get Flat’/’Pink Panther’ (Revue) comes straight from the herbman. Two lilting pieces of sun-on-me-back relaxation that are a strictly home time recreation… something not to be found on SMILEY CULTURE’s re-issue, ‘Cockney Translation’ (Fashion) a sharp talk reconcilation of Bow and Brixton, titfer and tam, that may lack the story line of ‘Police Officer’ but for sheer linguistic agility plays Arthur Daley next to Arthur Mullard. Keep it stirring…
Which is just what RUN DMC do on the totally justified ‘King Of Rock’ (Fourth and Broadway). I’ve talked about the hard stuff, but pal this is just HARRRD. A rap ‘n’ rock attack that’s a potentially more explosive mix than nitro and glycerine or KURTIS BLOW and Go Go? KB’s 1982 tribute to DC, ‘Party Time’ (Club) is a welcome, if predictable re-release. One of the safest ways, barring a raid on the Park Royal brewery of keeping the League Of Gentlemen in their place. Just rich… unlike GRANDMASTER MELLE MEL AND THE FURIOUS FIVE’s re-arrangement of Trouble Funk’s ‘Pump Me Up’ (Sugarhill) an opportunistic cash-in characterised by the most pedestrian rap attack yet to come from this quarter… now the instrumental side, that’s something…
ROUGH OR SMOOTH
WELL, ACTUALLY right in between is BILLY BUTLER’s ‘Right Track’ (Skratch) a classic piece of Northern soul whose stomping insistence, brassy freshness and vocal pleading belie the cruder studio techniques of yore and showcase a vitality sadly lacking in the slick uptempo soul of say, MIDNIGHT STAR’s ‘Operator’ (Solar)… a club hit for some time but lacking the essential bite and perspiration to leave the purely technical behind. Nice, but no carnival, neither is AMII STEWART’s ‘That Loving Feeling’ (RCA), a smooth ride into nothingness, rather like lip gloss without a pair of lips or APOLLONIA 6 ‘Blue Limousine’ (Warners) without their Prince. These people make sexual attraction a form of commodity broking and ‘Blue Limousine’s the absolute zenith of male potency. Cluttered.
DEAD OR ALIVE
IF MEAT is murder, THE SMITHS ‘Shakespeare’s Sister’ (Rough Trade) is death by strangulation. A bruising, unfocused rush that mistakes energy for Eater live in Stockport cemetery. One wonders if such an ill conceived move would have been considered by a record company less enamoured of their one major act. A dumb record and a poor way to end such a fine singles run.
While WIN start theirs with ‘Unamerican Broadcasting’ (Swamplands). Usually I treat obsessions with Warhol and Sixties New York scumbags with the utmost contempt. Yet while the fake Yank accents and sub-Andy peel-off record cover here are decidedly not 1985, the black vinyl stuff is possessed of a charming impish verve… piano and guitar underpinned by rock steady drumming and lots of silly broadcast interference… Fine as it goes…
While a slab of MEAT LOAF ‘Piece Of The Action’ (Arista) usually goes a long way. But, this is like any other Meat single really. Slow piano based intro where the man mountain gets all soft until the Luftwaffe open fire, nuclear war starts and Mr Loaf hits overdrive—
Not lost on THOMAS LEER’s ‘Heartbreak’ (Arista), I’d warrant. Failing to build on the kudos of last summer’s ‘International’, this is a curiously lifeless run through of failed moves. Methinks a case of the studio in control of the song. Which is definitely not the case with the DAMNED’s curious ‘Grimly Fiendish’ (MCA), coming on like an outtake from the last Madness LP, ‘Grimly Fiendish’ replaces the usual guitar thrash for some neat chord progression, a dash of melody and a set of backing vocals that are more Small Faces than punk debris. Strange one.
Cue KILLING JOKE ‘Kings And Queens’ (EG) which finds us under some dark, rumbling megaton album track trying to get out. Possessed of the same dank menace as ‘Love Like Blood’ but all that black and bleak may be too much for the squeamish…
FRANKIE GOES TO HOLLYWOOD’s ‘Welcome To The Pleasuredome’ (ZTT) doesn’t quite fit together. The presentation, the sleeve notes, neither square with the group or their audience. The record, always a fine album track, is a bloated, self-important grand daddy of a single, more to do with the self-indulgence of early Seventies types than the vibrant, exciting, sensational scam that Frankie’s sales and Frankie’s marketing people tell us they are. It is in fact a beautifully executed piece of pomp and that has no part in the past, present or future as the full colour poster of this review might say. Disappointing.