Reviews roundup – IR vs. The Look vs. Jessica Clemmons
No Country For Old Men
Cowboy City Records
The Artists Formerly Known As International Rescue first got together as part of the vibrant Bridlington punk scene in 1980 (eh?). But then main man Stephen Skinner was hijacked by eighties hit machine (eh?) Orange Juice, and spent the next decade and a half with OJ lead squeeze Edwyn Collins.
But what to do when those Belgian tour dates dry up? Why, get the band back together! And, lo it is so. The number one punk band in Bridlington are go!
Of course their not punk anymore, rather an indie-pop / power pop hybrid who make the sort of music that nodding heads of a certain age nod their heads to while pretending they bought Big Star records first time out when actually they were splashing their paper round money on ‘I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing (In Perfect Harmony)’.
There are some nice tunes on offer, no more so than on ‘I Don’t Know What It Is but I Like It a Lot’ and ‘Let’s Rip It Up’, so if you’ve got some paper round money to splash go for it.
Tunes And Stories
Beat Town Records
And if that weren’t enough eighties to keep you going, look! It’s The Look! From the decade that music passed by (apart from the mid-eighties glam metal explosion which just rawked!).
You may not remember them, but they had a huge hit, back in the days when you actually had to sell records to have a hit. And that hit was ‘I Am The Beat’. See, you do remember it. I don’t but then the eighties was a blur of speed and booze for me, but you do.
That song sold over 200,000 copies in the UK alone, and the world of Tiswas and DLT was theirs for the taking. Shame then, that it took 23 years for a follow up album, “Pop Yowlin”, but a mere 9 years on, and here’s another one.
Some things haven’t changed, so even if the waistlines have spread, they still know their way around a good pop tune, as ‘Made It All’ and ‘Ride On (Part 1) will attest, two of many tunes that would have done rather well back in the day. It’s actually a rather nice record that the adult contemporary market over in the American colonies will swoon over, so hopefully they’ll get the chance.
Loving This Day
Finally, we make it into this century with the second album from American Idol alumni Jessica Clemmons. Way back in 2006 she was turfed oot before the live shows but came back in 2010 with here debut album “Permanent”, and now this follow up.
Vocally, it’s hard to work out why she was ejected so early on, as an awfy lot of worse singers have got further, so it must have been something else. Who knows.
On this record she’s operating in the genre bossed about by another Idol alumni, Kelly Clarkson, so it’s power pop with big choruses mixed up with some emotive ballads. She’s better at the former than she is at the latter, but that may be down to song choice, although as she co-wrote the album it may have needed a more forceful producer to bin a couple of tracks.
Having said that, this is more pearl than swine, with ‘Beautiful’ and ‘In A Box’ the standouts for me. One for grown ups who still want to dance (a little).