early 80s America .through their experience as the seminal Sugarhill Gang. but given an experimental edge by producer and ‘fifth member‘ Adrian Sherwood. Tackhead forged a distinctive style. using samples and sound treatments to uncompromising dramatic effect.
‘Class Rock'. the single currently doing the rounds. is definitely a more conventional. even poppy. affair. with its cheerfully hedonistic chorUs. ‘really wanna rock your body‘. However. drummer Keith LeBlanc is keen to emphasise that this doesn‘t represent a sell-out to the mainstream.
‘The album covers such a wide variety of music that no one song is a good representation ofit. On this record. we did more song-orientated things. but there's also some things that are pure experimentation. We‘re trying to keep the best of both worlds; everybody is always trying to break new ground in the band or else we‘ll get bored.‘
Nevertheless. Strange Things is their most accessible work to date. even to the extent of featuring Mick Jagger on one track. Sought-after
singer Bernard Fowler is now a permanent member. and his powerful. soul—inﬂuenced vocals are likely to broaden 'l'ackhead‘s popularity and mavbe even get them a hit. ' ‘ ‘l’robably the reason people think it‘s more commercial.‘ admits LeBlanc. ‘is because there‘s a vocalist on it. and the quality is a bit better because we actually had a real budget this time. and that‘s opened up a bigger audience for us. The advent ofa singer has definitelv changed the sound. and it‘s more accessible because a lot of people didn‘t enjoy going to see a band that was just samples. but the real crazy stuffthat we kinda invented. that a everybody‘s doing now. we‘re still doing. We don‘t worry about it being commercial — commercial. to me. is like pop music. Kylie Minogue or Headache and Waterbuffalo (Stock. Ail/(en and Waterman apparent/v). Besides. the record company is still worried by halfofthe tracks. We‘ve always wanted a singer and we got Bernard in because we just love the way he sings — he‘s probably the baddest singer on the planet.‘
Fowler takes the lion‘s share of lyric-writing. but most songs are collaborative efforts. The band‘s familiar concerns are still in evidence on Strange Things — unrest on the streets. drugs. violence and division but with. as Preston Sturges put it. ‘a little bit ofsex'. 'I‘ackhead are violently opposed to censorship. and see the social commentary in their music as crucial.
‘I don‘t think any music should be put in a box and have its own special chart or any of those other divisions.‘ says LeBlanc. ‘Music is music to me. and people can say anything they want to on it. That‘s the way I'd like to keep it. There‘s one song on the album called “For This I Sing". which is about people loving their country but not wanting to die for it over ridiculous things. ()fcourse. we didn‘t know about the Gulf(‘risis at the time we did it. but the lyrics are really good on that. I really like the freedom there is in music now: everything that‘s different I like. and I don‘t judge anybody for what they put on a record.‘
Tack/wad play the Barrowland. Glasgow on Wed I 0.
SSNIlSI‘l [VIE I ' E [1' El
617 'IVOISSV'IO 817 X105 99 ZZVI‘ 2? X308
version of ‘California Uber Alles‘ on the ﬂip side. (FS)
I Mona GeorgetJusl The Way You Like It (TuﬂAudio Productions) It‘s only with hindsight that I‘ve realised the significance ofthe $08 Band in funk circles. but whereas Beats International regenerated ‘Just Be Good To Mc‘ by' the simple addition ofa dub beat. Mona only just salvages the potential of the original here. ller sweet but feeble Paula Abdul vocals just don't match the guts ofthe original or even the clarity of Lindy‘s effort. And why debut with a cover version ifshe‘s been performing her own material since the age of twelve? (PS)
I Orbital: Omen (ﬂrr Records)’l'hc kind of record that takes great delight in affronting the nation's Ludditc purists. This particular arrangement of anonymous blecps and twiddles is every bit as acceptable as the next one. ifa little more lacklustre than the usual ()rbital product. lcan't help foreseeing the implosion of the whole techno—dance racket though. when fabricated danceﬂoor fillers like this will be ritually sacrificed for the pleasure ofthe world‘s guitar heroes. (F5)
I Nick Cave: The Weeping Song (Mute) You've got to laugh. I mean. Nick's hardly going to bubble forth with excessive mirth. is he'.’ Yet somehow you know there‘s a wicked sense of humour operating behind the oppressive facade. This concept duet smacks of parodic self-indulgence for a start. And how‘s this for couplet ofthe fortnight: "This is a weeping song A song in which to weep'. (‘rocodile tears. for sure. (FS)
I Daryl Hall & John Dates: 30 Close (Arisla) Jon Bon Jovi co-produces this one. which sweeps in with the bombast of Simple Minds and soon settles itito the usual clodhopping l lall & ()ates idea of w hile soul. ()ne of those records that actually makes you grateful for Wet Wet Wet. You didn‘t think that was possible? You haven't
The List 28 September— ll ()etober 199037