Ok, so let me set it straight from the outset, Athletico Spizz 80’s, Do A Runner is and has been a huge favourite of mine ever since its initial release way back in 1980, so it was highly probable that mine would be a five star rated review. The only element likely to diminish that rating was the effectiveness of the remastering job and I am delighted to discover that this highly cherished music has not been marred in any way as a result of 21st century tampering. Quite the contrary – unearthing the original A&M tapes and subjecting them to a digital overhaul has yielded fabulous results on both Do A Runner and The Spizzles, Spikey Dream Flowers.
But what of the music? Well, Do A Runner is simply astonishing stuff - it’s lush, infectious, giddyingly joyous and eminently deserving of multiple rounds of ‘rapturous applause’ – in short, it’s a luxuriantly textured, witty and delightfilled masterpiece. It’s worth noting that the original sequencing of Do A Runner is retained here – and that matters. This is no ploddy 4/4 affair – this set of songs undulate, swoop, dive and plunge, creating eddying pools that ripple and dazzle as gales of Spizz’ singular humour peal forth in a torrent of superb vocal performances. A truly class act. Mention ought to be made of the fact that no singles were drawn from this LP – no cash-ins or any such tawdriness. True, Red & Black had an earlier birthing on Spizz Oils’, Cold City EP –but Athletico Spizz 80’s reversioning is a way more muscular affair by far.
Touched kicks-off proceedings in a relatively laid back manner but within the bounds of that song there is a clearly discernable sense of a band straining its leash – eager to reach its full and frenetic stride. Even during their somewhat more introspective moments, such as the completely brilliant Personimpersonator, the band retains tautness and a refusal to be reined in. ‘Somewhere the fever stops’ sings Spizz on the astounding lollopfest of Rhythm Inside – well after 34 years of listening to this remarkable LP I’ve yet to discover where the music even hints that it might let up on its insistent inventiveness. The majestic LP closer, Airships, driven as it is by Mark Coalfield’s seemingly impossible sub-bass tones and CP Snare’s insistent drumming, soars with all the grace of a sedate albatross. As hinted, this LP is never far from my turntable – I’m currently on my third copy of it such is the extent of airings it’s enjoyed down the decades – so taking delivery of this remastered CD has been a total joy. There is one slight niggle here though – there is no lyric sheet! Now, as it happens I’m fully conversant with Spizz’ oeuvre so I’m not personally at a loss - and to be clear, there are no deficiencies in the ridiculously charismatic frontman’s enunciation. Nevertheless, there is an abundance of lyrical gems on these LPs and I reckon a newcomer would revel in the opportunity to scan the wonderful wordage of Spizz.
At any rate, niggle aside, pretty much all of the superlatives above and more can be as readily appied to The Spizzles, Spikey Dream Flowers – though the humour quotient on the latter LP is cranked up to and beyond the mythical notch 11. One thing that strikes me as totally amazing is the fact that this is the first CD release of the LP! I sincerely hope that this reissue is picked up by younger music fans as the sounds herein are bound to delight any discerning listener as much as they do me, still! Seriously, if you’re pondering buying this fantastic disc ruminate no longer – just take the plunge – I’m entirely without a shred of doubt that you’ll derive huge pleasure from both Athletico Spizz 80’s and The Spizzles’ consummate skill and inventiveness – honestly, it’s shocking how good this music is. This is absolutely a must have item – don’t be ‘devoid of life and hollow within’ - grab it now!