8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
I Want - I Got,
This review is from: SUB-STANCE (Audio CD)
I bought this album on a whim, not because I am a big fan of Dept S but because I was a big fan back in 1980.
Big fan? OK, let me qualify that... I was a pimply 13-14yr old living out in the sticks. Getting my hands on a single (a 45rpm single) involved cycling to a town and to local record shop `Discotrak', about 10 miles overall. I bought both Is Vic There? and Going Left Right in this way, so in my book I was a big fan... oh and I read about them in Smash Hits too. I read that they were producing an album called Substance... so I waited... and waited. Nada.
Scroll on 27 years, me surfing the web. What's this, Sub-stance released at last? I'll have that! Click. Download.
So - was the album worth the wait? Is it another of those classic lost albums? That's a difficult one.
My perception of the Dept S was based on two singles, two fab New Wave offerings with lashings of guitar and synth that nestle in with other New Wave stuff of the time - the Vapors, Teardrop Explodes, etc., plus two OK b-sides. It is difficult to say that these songs are representative of the sound of the overall album, cos I don't think they are.
There is, however, one priceless track - I Want - apparently their third single. (They certainly didn't stock that at Discotrak!) Seemingly this single didn't dent the charts in a big way, and it's a crying shame that it didn't cos to me it's fabulous. Better than Is Vic There? Better than Going Left Right. An absolute gem. It's a multi-layered piece that just builds and builds over a menacing bass / guitar line. Great lyrics, great piano, great brass at the end. Proof that a song can be greater than the sum of its parts. Give the producer a cigar.
Other than the three singles (I now know) what else hits the mark? Well, I also rate Monte Carlo or Bust, the opener Of All the Lost Followers and a couple of others. Some of the other songs are all right, but don't grab me like those I've mentioned. And some songs have a funky guitar/bass thing going on, which reminds me of Spandau Ballet, Level 42, etc.... Very 1980s, but not my scene. If that's the direction Dept S were heading in, I suspect I wouldn't have remained such a 'big fan' for long...
So, am I glad I bought the album? Well, yeah. Nostalgia aside, there are some great tracks on the album, and as someone who still listens to old `80s stuff, New Wave, Adverts, Clash, Skids, TRB, Piranhas, stuff I saved my pocket money to buy and cycled all those miles to get... it's a very worthy addition to my collection. To be honest though, it's worth getting to listen to I Want - an overlooked masterpiece.
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Initial post: 5 Apr 2012 11:15:51 BDT
Manuel Martín Fernández says:
Last Sunday, after thirty years of remembering a song which I heard on the radio and which I liked a lot but I knew nothing about (the band), I finally found it. The song was/is "I Want". I had no hope of finding it because my vague memories were of the repetitive words "I want", something they said about Robert de Niro, and the line "but I'm asking". Incredibly, I googled "I want" "but I'm asking" and it led me to a video in YouTube of the song. At last I found the song, the band, everything to know, and importantly the songs were available at iTunes so they were bought straight away, as is the CD now here at amazon. It took thirty years to locate and place this lacking piece in the big puzzle jigsaw of my life, so you can imagine the extreme sense of joy I feel, of accomplishment.
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