Customer Review

41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Romantic? *New* Romantic? Darling, they wrote the book., 14 April 2001
This review is from: Visage (Audio CD)
...well, they wrote the album, anyway. I can hardly believe no-one else has yet reviewed this breathtaking piece of work. Visage. Oh, Visage. The band was a collective formed by Steve Strange and Rusty Egan, who ran the clubs that started the New Romantic movement. Steve sang and Rusty played with numerous electronic devices, and the band also featured Midge Ure and Billy Currie of Ultravox, and members of the then-recently-split Magazine. This first album was really made as music for the people in the clubs to dance to - Rusty was a DJ and he knew what was wanted. Steve was possibly the only New Romantic ever to dress more flamboyantly than Boy George, and not a bad singer, either. Together with the rest of the band they created this criminally underrated album. Beginning with the sparklingly extravagant "Visage", the album then continues with the completely incomprehensible but thoroughly enjoyable "Blocks On Blocks" and the explosive instrumental "The Dancer", which shows influences from Roxy Music and Bowie. This is followed by "Tar", which was, incredibly, released as a single and has tongue more firmly in cheek than any Eminem track you care to mention. It's a danceable nod to the perils of smoking. It's on the Greatest Hits. 'Nuff said. What would then have been the final track on the A side is undoubtedly Visage's most famous song, "Fade To Grey", a thoughtful if slightly satirical lament on what could probably be described as the utter boringness of a working man's life. Steve Strange of course looked a bit odd singing this, dressed as he was for the video in a white toga and snake makeup, but there you go. If - and I don't know that this is possible, it does seem to be on every compilation I have - if you're a fan of the early 80s and you've never heard Fade To Grey, I suggest you go and track it down. Now. The next track is the somewhat odd "Malpaso Man" - I assure you even if you have the lyrics in front of you it doesn't help - which should feel out of place but somehow doesn't. I can't explain what makes me love this song just as much as the others - perhaps it's Steve and Midge's cold vocal against the sparse instuments, perhaps it's the lyrics. Regardless, it's followed by another of Visage's singles, the excellent "Mind Of A Toy". Very spooky, the synthesisers used to striking effect underneath Steve's searing vocal - "A wooden head and a broken heart, used, abused, and torn apart" - stunning. Another nearly-instrumental next, "Moon Over Moscow", which leaves you wondering how you could possibly not have heard it before. It's simple but powerful, the repetition creating a slightly sinister atmosphere which is soon dispelled by the glorious and incomparable "Visa-Age", a quirky upbeat sort of homage to excess. Visage : the only band pretentious enough to pronounce their own name three different ways. ("Visage," "Visageay" and "Visa-age", if you're interested.) Then : "The Steps", a grand and majestic synthesiser finale, bringing the album to a close in the way only the New Romantics knew how. Since nobody had reviewed it before, I hope I'm not diving in too deep by writing a review this long. But, being I think the youngest Visage fan (16 going on 17), I felt it my duty to...oh, whatever. It's a FANTASTIC album. Go and get it. Listen to it. Listen and dream and dance your life away.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 1 Mar 2010 16:45:07 GMT
Trash says:
nice review of a great album.
just wanted to point out that Malpaso Man is all about clint Eastwood or more specifically the character he played (the man with no name) in the spaghetti Westerns. I seem to recall that he had a production company called Malpaso at the time - hence the title.
If you listen to the lyrics of the song with an image of clint Eastwood in your mind it all becomes clear :-)

cheers

Posted on 20 Jun 2014 20:13:46 BDT
Great review. You're spot on. Cheers!
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