Because of the proliferation of albums at this point in time, we have decided to at least temporarily expand our reviews, pre-empting the DJ Profile.
ALBUM REVIEWS BY LONG-WINDED PEOPLE WHO ALMOST MEET DEADLINES
The Smiths - The Smiths (Sire) If you bought this album because of the bouncy, uptempo singles "This Charming Man" and "What Difference Does It Make," then like me you might have been initially disappointed. At first I was put off by the preponderance of slower songs and lead singer Morrissey's prolix lyrics. But when I discovered that even a lyric as obnoxious as "I decree today that life is simply for the taking and not giving" is rendered singable by Johnny Marr's wonderful pop guitar, suddenly this album clicked. I've been listening to it with a growing fascination ever since. And when I realized that even the slowest songs have depth and power, I can only conclude that this is the best debut album so far of 1984.
-- Boy Wonder
The Style Council - My Ever Changing Moods (Geffen) Will the real Style Council please stand up? On their first full-length LP, this potentially great group settles for mediocrity in an uneven work that attempts to cover too much territory in too little space. Kind of like a soul version of The Beatles ("The White Album" in the vulgar tongue) condensed to a single LP. Still, side one is strong if not confusingly eclectic. Side two, however, sees the Council beginning to lose control. The overall problem here is that many strong cuts fail to work together in the album's format.
King Crimson - Three of a Perfect Pair (EG) Since this is the third installment of a trilogy, this might be it for this superstar line-up. The music ranges from Crimson funk to accessible (almost pop) songs to the instrumentals on side two that become more cohesive after repeated listenings. Good, although the least commercial of the three. With a line-up of Fripp, Belew, Levin and Bruford, look for a tour that can't be missed.
-- Tim G.
The Cars - Heartbeat City (Elektra) Their worst effort to date. Though it's somewhat a departure from the "Cars sound" (perfectly defined in their debut) it's as anomyous and boring as Loverboy. The temptation is to blame it on producer "Mutt" Lange, but when guitarist Elliot Easton trades in the Fripp-like guitar lines of Shake it Up (their second best album) for the borrowed Duran Duran and Jefferson Starship guitar on this record, then you know where the main problem lies. It's great for a band to reorganize it's sound, but horrible when they steal everybody else's.
-- Boy Wonder
Go-Go's - Talk Show (I.R.S.) For some reason it's become uncool to like the Go-Go's. All coolness aside, Talk Show is a strong LP, perhaps their best, and certainly worthy of even the most finicky rock fan's attention. If the thought of purchasing a Go-Go's album affronts your coolness, try listening to it as the new Bangles album, you just might enjoy yourself.
Dire Straits - Alchemy (WB) This long-awaited treat is worth your money. Unlike most double-live sets these days, this one is actually interesting. It contains at least one track from every Dire Straits album and Mark Knopfler's Local Hero soundtrack, it also features exquisite Knopfler guitar and out-of-control drumming from former Rockpiler Terry Williams. A good introductory album for beginners, a must for Dire listeners. Oh yeah -- this album was taken from one performance and not ten months on the road. Adds to the attraction.
-- Tim G.
Buzzcocks - Parts 1-3 EP (I.R.S.) The Buzzcocks were a pop anomaly. In any other era but '77 they would have been hailed as a great band, but at the time they were overshadowed by the Sex Pistols, Clash and Jam. On the other hand, they would have been unthinkable in any other era. Because in their heyday, the 'cocks were the perfect marriage of punk and pop. Their two American albums Singles Going Steady and A Different Kind of Tension are as good as anything from that era. The Parts 1-3 EP is the Buzzcocks near the end, as they were becoming more experimental and accordingly, most of the songs are too cluttered to be top-notch Buzzcocks. Great exception: "What Do You Know," where wild sax drives Peter Shelley into a great vocal frenzy. Overall, the EP is worthwhile, just like everything else with "Buzzcocks" on it.
-- Boy Wonder
Put into HTML Saturday, June 30, 2001
I was listening to The Who -- Tales From the Who