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"I'm not saying it's bad"
on 9 October 2014
In a wide-ranging, 2 page interview with Mojo [252, November 2014] Frankie's charismatic front-man Holly Johnson was asked about how he saw the absurdly over-hyped, but short-lived, synth-rock group now. He spoke frankly about his disappointment with their artfully-packaged, Trevor Horn-produced 1984 debut, which was created with the aid of members of Art of Noise, The Blockheads, and Yes. He said: "It was a ridiculous thing to make a double and padding it out with covers, but by that time we were tied up in contractual obligations and I'd given away our power, in many ways. I'm not saying it's bad but all that Spitting Image ________ [impressionist Chris Barrie provided the voices of Ronald Reagan and Prince Charles] is extremely dated and kind of spoils the album."
He is right: it could easily lose cod-funk songs 'Wish (The Lads Were Here)' and 'Krisco Kisses'; the inter-song skits are as funny as an episode of Red Dwarf, and interpretations of 'War' and 'Born to Run' aren't as good as those of Edwin Starr and Bruce Springsteen. But, this intermittently engaging LP does boast an audaciously overblown proggy title track - that took up the entire first side of the original double vinyl - a camp run-through Burt Bacharach's cocktail jazz song 'San Jose', and 3 slick No. 1's - 'Relax', 'Two Tribes', and 'The Power of Love' - that say as much about '80s pop culture as worthy stuff, like 'Shipbuilding', or 'This Charming Man', do.