Record Review: Heaven 17 – Designing Heaven UK CD#1

WEA International | UK | CD5 | 1996 | WEA 078 CD1

WEA International | UK | CD5 | 1996 | WEA 078 CD1

Heaven 17: Designing Heaven UK CD 1/2 [1996]

  1. Designing Heaven (Radio Mix)
  2. Designing Heaven (Lloyd-Wright Mix – Motiv 8’s Radio Mix)
  3. Designing Heaven (Le Corbusier Mix – Motiv 8’s Dub 12)
  4. Designing Heaven (Trans European Heaven)
  5. Designing Heaven (Den Himmel Designen)

Last month an astonishing thing happened. One of my regular commenters [nick] sent me two Heaven 17 CD singles that I did not have! It’s always a great thing when CDs arrive in the mail that I did not first order and pay for, and some of the mixes here will help me complete that long-gestating Heaven 17 collection. I may have to build a 2nd volume of the “Civil Defence Box” eventually, but this is a risk that I am willing to take! So hats off to nick for actually tithing music to support PPM! How can I not discuss the first of these singles now that I have had time to listen to them?

“Designing Heaven” was the harbinger of the reformation of Heaven 17 in 1996. The band had entered a diffuse period, if not outright dissolution following their commercially lackluster “Teddybear, Duke + Psycho” album of 1988 that did nothing in business, except that it did catch my Monastic ear in a way that H17 had not in ages. But to no avail. The band were effectively on the scrapheap from 1989-1996. That they did come back was probably entirely due to the other CD that nick sent, which we won’t discuss today except to set the context for this release.

Virgin | UK | 12" | 1993 | VST 1446

The remix of “Temptation” that was issued to ride the “Higher + Higher” ‘best of’ album that Virgin managed the neat trick of matching the UK top 5 charting of the original version. I’ll bet dollars to doughnuts that this was the spark that re-lit the H17 franchise that saw the band signing with Anzilotti + Münzing following their flush with successful period where they got a boutique label [Eye of the Storm] to run. An album, “Bigger Than America,” was released in 1996 and “Designing Heaven” was the leadoff single. The songs seemed to be a conscious attempt to revisit the cascading climaxes of “Temptation” in a more thoughtful format. While “Temptation” was a conscious stab at writing about sex for the first time ever by Martyn Ware, this track sports more socially incisive lyrics that we’ve come to appreciate from the H17 point of view.

The Motiv-8 remixes were fairly typical of the period. The radio mix [which I had elsewhere] had the song recast in the mold they proffered the same year for the Club Mix of Pulp’s brilliant “Common People.” I have to say that “Designing Heaven” withstands the somewhat heavy handed “handbag” approach much more successfully than did the Pulp magnum opus. To their benefit here, the remixes don’t take long enough to bore with their textures, and make for reasonably pleasant listening. The dub 12 mix retains the backing and chorus vocals, but as for a dub mix, there’s no danger that it would be confused for an Adrian Sherwood mix! The dub effects and techniques are pretty tepid.

The one intriguing mix here that was new to me was Gregorio’s “Trans European Heaven,” which was a pretty successful downtempo recast of the track that worked pretty well for all of the heavy lifting done to take a euphoric pop tune like this into introspective territory. Sometimes, this gambit can be disastrous, but not here. In fact, some of the worst remixes I’ve ever heard attempt this unsuccessfully. And finally, the “Den Himmel Designen” german-language version [as translated by Glenn Gregory’s pal Claudia Brücken] was a real treat that I had only heard as a bonus track on the US edition of “Bigger Than America.” I passed on that CD. The cover was much like this single – a far cry from the original German CD with the Ray Smith watercolor that all great Heaven 17 albums have. So I’m pleased to have this mix in house now on this fine single. Now I need the second disc to this set. Rounding up all of the mixes of this era should be a priority since I am getting excitingly close to the bullseye. Many thanks to nick for generously sending this my way.

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Posted in Core Collection, Record Review | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

REVO Remastering: Freur/Underworld [Mk I] – Stainless Steel Tears

REVO | 2xCD-R | 2006 | REVO 036

REVO | 2xCD-R | 2006 | REVO 036

Freur/Underworld [Mk. I]: Stainless Steel Tears 2x CD-R [2006]

Disc 1

  1. Doot Doot [ext. ver.]
  2. Hold Me Mother [ext. ver.]
  3. Matters Of The Heart [dun difrunt]
  4. You’re A Hoover [dun difrunt too]
  5. Runaway [dun difrunt]
  6. Riders In The Night [american club mix]
  7. This Is The Way I’d Like To Live My Life [ver. 1]
  8. Innocence
  9. Riders In The Night [dub mix]
  10. Jazz Is King [ext. ver.]
  11. Look In Back For The Answers [ext. ver.]
  12. Hey Ho Away We Go
  13. My Room [live]
  14. Tender Surrender [live]

Disc 2

  1. Doot Doot [live]
  2. Uncle Jeof
  3. Underneath The Radar [7″ remix]
  4. Big Red X
  5. Underneath The Radar [inst.]
  6. Show Some Emotion [7″ remix]
  7. Underneath The Radar [7″ remix]
  8. Glory! Glory! [live]
  9. Underneath The Radar [12″ remix]
  10. Shokk The Doctor
  11. Stand Up [and dance]
  12. Outskirts
  13. Stand Up [ya house]
  14. Promised Land

This was another REVO CD that I had been obsessing over for about seven years of mail ordering scarce singles and biding my time until the German 12″ of “Riders In The Night” came through! I finally made this nine years ago and it’s one of the personal jewels in my collection of handmade CDs. I’ve written about Freur and their metamorphosis onto Underworld MkI previously, so I won’t get into too much reiteration. Let’s direct our attention instead to the contents of this set.

freur - dootdootUK12A  freur - mattersof theheartUK12A  fueur - runawayUK12A  freur - ridersinthenightDUTCH12A

This set started out with the classic, Enoesque “Doot Doot,” best heard in its 12″ form. Gotta love those electronic crickets! It’s like the best track not on “Another Green World!” As per usual, the B-side is more extreme and vivid. “Hold Me Mother” was an extroverted electro-stomper. The poise and electronic elegance of “Matters Of The Heart” is a Freur high water mark for me. The 12″ version turned down the melody and faded up the dub effects for a bracing, yet ultimately less effective remix. You really should seek out the original! “Riders In The Night” had all the earmarks of a hit with its propulsive rhythms and compelling melodies and superb production. Yet it didn’t happen. Pearls before swine, I guess.

freur - devilindarknessUK12ACBS Records | UK | 12

The singles from the second album period were dramatically different as the band had by then changed their spots to become a unique synth/folk music hybrid. “Devil In Darkness” was the only sea shanty I’d ever heard with Simmons drums thwacking around in the rhythm bed. I’ve already posted on “Look In Back For The Answers” years ago.

Disc one ended with some live tracks from a home video [New From London] that Sony released here [in the US] cobbled from full concerts that were released abroad. Somewhere, the full show was captured for home viewing, but I don’t have it. A dropout on “Tender Surrender” when playing back the ancient VHS tape for this CD gave me a real challenge in the DAW, but my edit worked as well as could be imagined.

underworld - underneaththeradarUS12A  underworld - glorygloryUS12A  underworld - showsomeemotionUSPCDA  underworld - standupUKCD3A

Disc two began with the two remaining Freur tracks before the Underworld Mk I phase gets underway. “Uncle Jeof” was a unique B-side in that it consists of seven minutes of tour diary recorded by Karl Hyde on a portable cassette in Europe. Then the band transmuted into Underworld Mk I. That material was far more commercial and “compromised,” but the B-sides “rocked” in a more familiar way. “Big Red X” recalled former glories with its dry, thwacking rhythm track and “Shokk The Doctor” managed to almost live up to the perversity inherent in such a title. “Stand Up [ya house]” was a house mix [can you tell it was then 1989 in the band’s timeline?] that easily is the least attractive track here. But hey, it was 1989! You had to do a “house” remix! It was the law.

wild orchid - OSTUSCDA

Disc two finished with “Promised Land,” a non-LP tune from the [surprisingly] halfway decent OST to the sleazy Mickey Rourke softcore schlock flick “Wild Orchid.” Underworld themselves would not see the promised land for another three years, when they burst onto the 90s dance scene and finally found their mass audience. But that’s another story yet to happen for me. This set represented the secret history of that band which was practically swept under the carpet once their star began to rise. The Freur material remains criminally undervalued to this day.

But wait! While grabbing images for this post, Discogs reveals a different release, heretofore unknown to me! Australia only were on the receiving end of a 12″ with two remixes of “Thrash” from the second Underworld album.

Sire | OZ | 12

Sire | OZ | 12″ | 1989 | 0-21443

Underworld: Thrash OZ 12″ [1989]

  1. Thrash [Dance Pass]
  2. Thrash [Extasy Pass]

Maybe they had some traction down under? After all, my CD3 of “Stand Up” was won from an ebay auction originating from Australia. At any rate, it marks this set as flawed and now in need of a remaster. It’s sometimes just like the majors even down in the trenches where there are no lawyers or interns tapped to source master tapes that were curiously incorrect. Let ye without mastering errors cast the first stone!

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Posted in Core Collection, Remastering | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

I Should Have Written About This Album Yesterday…

United Artists Records | UK | LP | 1978 | UAG 30199

United Artists Records | UK | LP | 1978 | UAG 30199

That’s because today, this is post number 1000. And try as I might, I only have a single track by 999 on a compilation. You’ve got one guess, and you’re right. It was June 24 of 2010 when I started blogging. There has been a lot of water under the bridge since then. I really need to print hard copies of each post and have them to refer to so I can avoid writing about the same old bands, more often than merited. Within reason.

The last year saw me go off on a tear and devote over 80 [almost] consecutive posts to a monomaniacal examination of one of my favorite bands, Simple Minds. I promise not to do that again any time soon, and given the complexity of my feelings over those Scots it’s not likely to happen.

One negative piece of fallout from the exercise has been the…”ballooning” shall we say, of the reviews I have been writing ever since. It seems to me as if I’ve lost my ability to hammer out a post that gets to the crux of the matter in 500-700 words. I blog during my lunch hour at work, so brevity is to be encouraged, if you can believe that. Now, I’m more likely to dig a little deeper in my analysis. Not always to my benefit.

So I need to try to reign in my tendency to overwrite. Given that everything here is a hasty first draft, and I am frantically trying to record my numerous thoughts about music in a hurry, this will be difficult for me. But the beauty of comments is that I can hold back, or remember something later that would be a good fit to flesh out the post in the comment dialog that occurs with the fine readers of this little corner of teh interwebs.

As for the commenters, they make it much better than it would be without them. Shoutouts to the crusty regulars that have seen fit to stick around even after six straight months of posts on Simple Minds! A doff of the Aztec Energy Cone® to old friends like Brian Ware, chasinvictoria, ronkanefiles, and JT who go back years with me. I truly appreciate them keeping their ears to the ground here in spite of the miles that separate us. These comments have also been truly gifted with the presence of people whom I’ve not had the the pleasure of knowing for decades, but their contributions to the dialog here have enriched my time doing [and perhaps your time reading this] this immeasurably. I’m talking about people like Nick, Tim, zoo, Simon H, Stephen Shafer, StellaVista, ianbalentine, vlad, and Taffy. Gavin has been a relatively recent presence here, but he’s definitely one of us and I look forward to more contributions from this most compatible mind. I’d love to shop for records with each and every one of you!

I wil hold out a special recognition for a presence so reliable here, he’s practically the co-writer on this blog. Of course that could only be Echorich. A guy, who I actually have shopped for records with! Such a gift! I am amazed that anyone with their own blog would pour such time and care into their posts to the comment threads here as he does, but I swear that he posts 10 times as much as commentary here than what he does as posts in his own little corner of the internet. And the quality of his writing forces me to up my game to meet him on an even keel.

So after five years and 1000 posts, where do we go from here? I’ve not changed the theme of the blog since day two, when I switched from Blogger to WordPress. I’ve slightly tweaked the widgets; as recently as last week, in fact. I may go off and rethink everything soon. Or not. What I am mulling over would take real time that I probably don’t have. I know I gravitate to the same handful of bands but that’s a factor of the collector’s sickness that I carry. I’ve got thousands of releases by about 200 bands. Maybe. Years ago I attempted a tally of each distinct band in the Record Cell and it was <150 at the time. It’s true I tend to vertically rather than laterally collect.

I think that the focus of the blog needs to come back to my primary passion; remastering releases for my “vanity label.” But that is dependent on time and money to buy the records I still need, so who knows if that will play out. I don’t plan the blog in advance or write ahead of posting, so it’s pretty immediate. If there’s anything you would care to see me write about, there’s always a comment field or the contact form to post me an email. Special orders don’t upset us. If I have anything to say on a subject, I’ll do it. Let’s gear up for the next thousand posts.

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Posted in metablogging | Tagged | 24 Comments

REVO Remastering: Virgin Records – Methods Of Dance [REVO 076]

REVO | CD-R | 2015 REVO 076

REVO | CD-R | 2015 | REVO 076

Virgin Records: Methods Of Dance CD [2015]

  1. B.E.F. – Groove Thang
  2. DEVO – G0ing Under
  3. D.A.F. – Der Mussolini
  4. Fingerprintz – The Beat Escape
  5. Heaven 17 – Soul Warfare
  6. Simple Minds – Love Song 7
  7. Magazine – The Great Man’s Secrets
  8. Japan – The Art Of Parties 12
  9. The Human League – Do Or Die Dub [Special Edit]
  10. John Foxx – Dancing Like A Gun
  11. Snakefinger – The Model
  12. Can – I Want More
  13. Cowboys International – Thrash
  14. Richard Strange – International Language
  15. Japan – Methods Of Dance

Against all odds, I have returned to my Record Cell, fired up the audio interface, cracked open a new bottle of D4 fluid, made some room on my beleaguered hard drive, and actually made a CD that The Man won’t sell me! Sure, sure, EMI released a “Methods Of Dance” CD 2008. It was a kind gestured sop to fanatics like myself who had been pining for both volumes of this series on CD, but rights issues for some of the material [particularly Can and D.A.F. who had absconded to Mute Records in the years since] meant that the end product; a mashup of both LP and cassette volumes, was bound to disappoint, even though of course I bought a copy! Even compromised, the series was gold.

But the nagging thought tugged at my mind in the years since buying that disc. Not insignificantly, a friend’s birthday was coming up quickly. I had already bought him the sterling Heaven 17 @ Metropolis set as a gift, but how much effort went into that? He deserved more. But what would he be suitably moved by a REVO disc of? Then it struck me; he had been trying for years to buy both volumes of “Methods Of Dance” on LP every time that we were in a record shop together. Surely, a CD of each would be appreciated? So I went into high gear to make this happen within a two week period.

I had many of the source tracks for volume one on CD, so technically, I could have done what EMI had done several years ago and just throw the tunes on a CD, but what makes the first album so interesting to listen to now was that the tunes were segued together on side one for a continuous mixed flow. Why they didn’t do that on side two was slightly puzzling. The songs were still spliced together without any dead air, but the actual segues that were mixed on side one were absent. So I knew what I had to do; digitize side one from vinyl, even though I only lacked the D.A.F. and Fingerprintz cuts on CD! Fortunately, I bought my copy of “Methods Of Dance” as a still-new budget import LP in 1984 for the princely sum of $3.99 as the receipt was still in the cover! The remastering required almost no manual pop removal since the disc was perhaps played only 2-3 times in the intervening years to make a cassette, back in the day.

I then obtained the two cassette bonus tracks that I lacked to make this a canonical CD with every cut on both the LP and cassette versions. The cassette tracks were placed after the LP flow in the order in which they appeared on the tape version, with the exception of the Japan title track. On the cassette, it was the first song and “The Art Of Parties” was missing from the format. Had I done so here, there would have been only the Human League cut between two Japan tracks; bad form.

Mastering the audio was quick, but the artwork was the bigger chunk of work this go-round. After two nights of scanning, editing in Photoshop and layout, the artwork was done. The insert would be the mini-poster style that featured an almost full size scan of the back cover to better read Paul Morley’s delightfully pretentious liner notes. I also placed the inner sleeve artwork at the bottom of the poster where each LP [near and dear to both my heart and that of the recipient’s] that featured the songs herein were touted. It got into the mail and arrived only a day after the actual birthday, but against all odds, I had done it. I had actually achieved a creative goal for the first time in far too long a time spent doing anything but one of my primary passions. So much for the backstory. What of the music?

1981 was the ultimate year of Virgin Records, in my estimation.

It represented a peak year in which all of the label’s efforts to transition from their prog roots to a contemporary New Wave feel paid off in spades. This had happened with the signings that Simon Draper had made for the label with his watchful eye skirting the fine line between commerciality and art. Investments made in bands on this compilation like Simple Minds were about to pay off in large ways as the groups here all had critical buzz, if not sales. Two albums by The Human League were more admired than purchased. Still, when David Bowie declared that band “the sound of 1980,” a certain level of expectation inevitably began to build. In 1981 the pressure on the band came to a head and they split into two factions, both represented here. The first was B.E.F., a post-modern “production company” ala Public Image Limited.

BEF - musicforstowaways UKCASSATheir “Groove Thang” was an instrumental version of the inflammatory debut Heaven 17 single, “[We Don’t Need This] Fascist Groove Thang.” It was taken from the then-novel cassette only release, “Music For Stowaways.” The fast b.p.m. coupled with the funk bass of John Wilson made it a memorable debut single. The LP next segued into a track from DEVO’s under rated “New Traditionalists” album. “Going Under” explored the same territory as The Jam’s “Going Underground” from the year prior, albeit in a dramatically different fashion. All of the synths that The Jam didn’t use [and more] were utilized on this methodical, metronomic cut.

Virgin Records | UK | 12

Last year [2014], Anton Corbijn released the film “A Most Wanted Man.” In it, characters go into a seedy Berliner disco where the aggressive crowd were throbbing to D.A.F.’s “Der Mussolini,” which still functioned as effective shorthand for an unbridled threatening atmosphere all of 34 years after the fact! Their reductive, homoerotic sound might possibly never go out of style. It is amazing to think that this song of less than four minutes was released on a 12” single in 1981. Even one year later, it would have been mixed to five minutes, at least. But we were innocent then.

fingerprintz - thebeatescapeUK7AFollowing D.A.F. was a single that was no less intense but far more playful from the almost forgotten Scot band Fingerprintz. I had bought their final album in 1981, the dance monster that was “Beat Noir.” The lead off single “The Beat Escape,” was a dazzling funk hall of mirrors with sax and fuzz bass syncopating impressively with the beat as Jimme O’Neill sang falsetto throughout. I have all three of Fingerprintz’s albums, which may be down to me to remaster. Once I buy the singles for bonus tracks, it will be in my sights to begin, but until then, this track remains an impressive reminder why this must eventually be undertaken. I’ve emailed Cherry Red years ago on this issue to no avail, so I can see where that’s going.

The tracks that immediately followed this were all core collection band material. Simple Minds, Heaven 17, Magazine, and “The Human League were all primary reasons why I maintain that 1981 was a year of years, and that year, Virgin was the label. Almost every significant album that built the foundations for my world hailed from the adventurous label. Back in 1981, the huge bait to purchase this sampler was the appearance of a Human League dub mix that never appeared elsewhere. In 1981 they exploded into superstardom and even managed to have a transatlantic number one with their synthpop classic “Don’t You Want Me,” but this dub mix was an extended take of material that appeared on much more brief form on The League Unlimited Orchestra “Love And Dancing” remix album the next year.

john foxx - dancinglikeagunUK7AThe first nine tracks on this CD replicate the original LP right down to the segues [there was no “dead air” on this LP] and mastering details. It was not until the advent of resources like that I could discover that the cassette version of this album had been substantially different. “Methods Of Dance” on the cassette had a further five songs added to the different running order as well as a substitution. One of the most significant Virgin albums for me that year had been John Foxx’s second solo album, “The Garden.” “Dancing Like A Gun” was the second and final single from it, but truth be told, I found it the weakest track on the album. Still, it was right and proper to have some John Foxx on this album, finally.

The Snakefinger cover of Kraftwerk’s “The Model,” which had topped the UK charts that year, was a Virgin licensing of a Ralph Record. It hailed from “Chewing Hides The Sound,” the Snakefinger debut album. The layers of treated guitar were a nice change of pace for this now much-covered song. Kraftwerk were not the only Germans re-releasing ahead of the pack catalogue material years afterward. Kraftrock masters Can released Virgin single VS-153 in 1976, only to see the label re-issue it as a 12” single [VS-422-12] five years later! The rare moment of Can getting down the funk in the studio was the almost unthinkable intersection between disco and krautrock. Luke Kraftwerk’s “The Model,” it’s another German pop song that has been covered, most notably by Scotland’s Fini Tribe.

cowboys international - thrashUK7ACowboys International were a band that I was aware of but did not have the pleasure to hear until decades later, much to my chagrin. Ken Lockie was a great frontman who assembled a Post-Punk supergroup in Cowboys International that were second to none. Marco [Banshees, Adam Ant] Pirroni and Keith [P.I.L.] Levene in addition to Terry [Clash] Chimes and Paul [Neo] Simon and Stevie [Ultravox!] Shears might have collapsed without the often brilliant songs and vision that Lockie brought to the table. “Thrash” [VS 293] was a fantastic 1979 single that deserved a wider airing two years later.

Richard Strange was one of the prescient Post-Glam, Proto-New Wave players like Bill Nelson. His band Doctors of Madness fissured just as their heirs apparent, Simple Minds were breaking out of Glasgow. His 1981 solo album, “The Rise Of Richard Strange,” from which the single “International Language” [VS 419] hailed from remains criminally unavailable.

Finally, the Japan track that started off the whole concept comes home to roost at the disc’s end. It had been a cassette substitution for “The Art Of Parties” from the LP version of “Methods Of Dance” but the aim here has been to make the most complete edition yet of this fantastic compilation. The eclectic cream of Britain’s finest label dating from music’s finest hour deserves nothing less.

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Posted in New Wave Compilations, Remastering | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments

Song Of The Day: Holly Beth Vincent – Unoriginal Sin

HBV © 1982 Antoine Giacomoni

HBV © 1982 Antoine Giacomoni

This last weekend I got pulled into the orbit of planet Holly Beth Vincent. A play of “The Right To Be Italian” led to her entire canon as it exists in the Record Cell getting repeated play and one song in particular has been in my skull and it just can’t let me go.

I’ve loved her second album after my friend Tom [finally] convinced me to give it a listening after years of being wary of its stylistic deviation from the punk pop/girl group perfection of “The Right To Be Italian” into the uncharted waters of album number two, “Holly + The Italians,” which sounds like only itself. The joy was that it did this brilliantly. And as far as I can tell, never more brilliantly on that album than on the stunning “Unoriginal Sin,” though several tracks certainly give it competition. At the end of the day, there has been only one song that I’ve played all weekend [and even right now] that I can’t get enough of and that’s the one.

It began subtly with a strummed rhythm guitar that was joined two bars in with bass [Bobby Collins – Ken Lockie, Blancmange] and drums [Kevin Wilkinson – League of Gentlemen, China Crisis]. The pacing was slow and deliberate. As the song ramped up to the first chorus, it featured Bobby Valentino [Fabulous Poodles] on violin adding dramatic counterpoint to the rock instrumentation. Then fell back to the incessant rhythm strumming, sounding like a small group of cellos, with the drums getting subtle fills to propel the song forward until the second chorus began at the 2:30 mark. Then the violin returned along with rhythmic piano grounding the tempo as the violin circled around it and plateaued with a plaintive solo that led into the intense and personal verse three, where it stayed through to the third chorus.

Chorus three was where the entire song built up dramatically with a fortissimo power that was truly moving and palpable. Here, Ms. Vincent added more lyrics to the third chorus which finally culminated in the appearance of the song’s title repeated through to the fadeout to attain a singularity of powerful feeling with Valentino’s violin soloing and also multi-tracked to attain a truly orchestral feel. The passion of this number is gripping. I’m still not done listening to it over and over, if not on disc, then surely in my head, as I fall asleep and wake up to this magnificent song; surely one of the finest in my Record Cell? How many other 6:15 songs does one listen to that sound far too brief?

holly + The Italians - demosfedericoUS2xCDATo shake things up, I’ve also been listening to the demo version, which was thankfully released on the amazing “Demos Federico” album in 2009. The demo here was dramatically different with presumably Ms. Vincent playing all of the instruments for the Portastudio demo. For one thing, the tempo was 50% faster, and the climactic verse three was not yet part of the song, so the end result was just four, very different minutes. The violin and piano that made the LP version so compelling were absent here, but the rocking tempo and reliance on crunchy guitar ala Holly + The Italians still marked the song as a complete winner, though the depth that came through the intense third verse and the differing arrangement only added more to the already substantial cards on the table even at this early stage.

til tuesday - voicescarryUS7AAs I was listening incessantly to the compelling, strummed rhythm guitar tempo of this song a small lightbulb went off over my head. Where else had I herd this exact sound? A few minutes of incubation led to the answer popping up. Three years after this song was released, a Boston post-New Wave combo called Til’ Tuesday appeared with a debut single that had exactly the same sound and tempo. You may have heard the song, “Voices Carry.” It was a smash and took them to the top ten of the US charts with a sound like a [highly] commercialized version of “Unoriginal Sin.” The minor key synths of that song come up short against the tremendous violin of Bobby Valentino, who proved that his sister [Anne Dudley] was not the only one in their family with a mastery of strings. I can’t believe that Aimee Mann didn’t have a copy of “Holly + The Italians” in her racks. The similarities were just too strong. My final proof? Both records were produced by Mike Thorne. Case closed. Aimee Mann wanted some of this mojo. She got the hit, but Holly Beth Vincent got my heart.

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Posted in SOTD | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments