Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Uh! Tears Baby (A Trash Pop Icon)

Typical, isn't it? You wait ages for an Album Of The Week and then two come along at the same time. Sort of ...

This is yet another (relatively) obscure album from what is fast becoming known as the ToffeeBoy era. Before I got involved with this strange 'Spilly thing, it hadn't particularly occurred to me that so much of the music that I love dates from the 1980s but I can't deny that it does seem to be the case. Perhaps it's because I lived and breathed music during much of the decade, playing in bands and working for Our Price. Who knows?

Win were a short-lived band, formed out of the ashes of Postcard-era Scottish indie-popsters, The Fire Engines. Their first single was released in 1985 and they had disbanded by 1990 - if you blinked, you'd have missed them. The entire back catalogue consists of seven singles and two albums. That's all there is.

The album I'm sharing with the class today, is Win's 1987 debut, the strangely (pretentiously?) titled Uh! Tears Baby (A Trash Pop Icon).

It's not really typical of the sort of music I tend to like - it isn't full of jangly guitars, it's not at all fey or whimsical and it's far more dance-based and much, much funkier than you might expect from an old fogey like me. But what it does have is great tunes, soaring melodies, interesting lyrics and some inventive use of electronic keyboards/synthesizers. More than anything else, it sounds to me like a band having fun.

Some of you (I'm sure) won't like the production - there's almost certainly too much reverb for Chris's liking (whether we're talking spring reverb or otherwise will have to be left to Abahachi to judge) - and some of you may not like the (admittedly very '80s) vocals - and you know what? I don't care. This is an album that's been part of my life for twenty two years and I love it. And I just wanted to share ...

Super Popoid Groove
Shampoo Tears
Binding Love Spell
Un-American Broadcasting (Ext)
Hollywood Baby Too
Empty Holsters
You've Got The Power
Charms Of Powerful Trouble
It May Be A Beautiful Sky Tonight But It's Only A Shelter For A World At Risk
Charms (Reprise)
Baby Cutting

Scots amongst us may remember this:


Big Mac And Large Flahs said...

Reminds me of this flaming lips LP cover:


Chris said...

As you've named me in your intro, TB, I feel obliged to opine...

This is Pop. Unequivocally! The quantity of reverb is consistent with the overall production values and does not overly offend my sensibilities. Ditto, the music: not my taste (surprise, surprise) but quite interesting of its type (I've only heard one obvious key change so far). Dreadfully obvious drumming but its the vocals that make me run and hide. I know it's long been a tradition to sing pop songs in a mid-Atlantic accent but they've removed all trace of anything Scottish, for which crime they should have been exiled to a rock in the middle of said ocean.

And why are they all singing in unison all the time? Were lighters supplied free with the album?

(But I'm glad that we both liked At Swim Two Birds. We have some taste in common!)

nilpferd said...

Wow. It isn't often I am moved to say this, but these tracks are some of the most fantasically irritating not recorded by Queen I have ever heard.
No idea why, as I couldn't stand to listen to enough of it to form a rational impression.
This is obviously my personal opinion only, a result no doubt of my pop-vacuum upbringing, and as such I hope it is taken for no more than an overlooked speck of dust on the windshield of the Toffeepopmobile.

steenbeck said...

I kinda liked it. It was very evocative...it reminded me of music that slightly more poppy new wave kids might have listened to in Highschool. (remember those distinctions? I like the more edgy new wave - cure, smiths). But there were always very cool, happy-seeming kids who would say they went to a Thompson Twins concert in NYC last night, and I'd feel slightly jealous. Know what I mean? Don't know if I'd buy the album, but Isaac was having some fun doing "cool dances" to it.

barbryn said...

Fine line between fun and irritating...? Interestingly, the 80s-ness of this doesn't annoy me like it usually does because it's so poppy (I can happily listen to Wham or Culture Club [for a few minutes...], but want to commit physical violence against, for example, whoever produced the first two Suzanna Vega albums). I enjoyed the first track a lot, but began to lose interest. I'd find these diverting if they came on the radio, but not sure I need them in my life...

ToffeeBoy said...

Thanks for the comments - I guess it's one of those albums where you had to be there at the time. I've known it (and loved it) for so long that I can't view it objectively now.

Just in case it wasn't obvious, the reason I wanted to put this up now was because of this week's theme and the tie-in with the band's name. I may not be joining in over at RR at the moment but it doesn't mean that I'm not keeping an eye on y'all.

ToffeeBoy said...

@ blimpy - just checked the link to The Flaming Lips album cover. I can't believe it's a coincidence and wouldn't be at all surprised to learn that Wayne Coyne was a Win fan.

Shoegazer said...

Was quite fond of the Fire Engines & this is what they became? It has every 80's cliche dialed up to 11. It would have sounded dated by 1984's standards, never mind 1987. It is the cheesiest piece of cheese in the cheese box....But it is also a lot of fun & I can't say I didn't enjoy it - can imagine it playing in a nightly disco in a Brit holiday camp or a European resort & kids of all ages having a good time.

Japanther said...

i'll go with Shoey on this. It almost sounded like a parody, like something off the Music & Lyrics (a Hugh Grant romantic comedy which I actually enjoyed!) soundtrack, especially the opening track. But all good fun!