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First-ly The Sound Of Music Had Yet To Fully Evolve
on 21 February 2010
I got this after being so impressed with Then Jerico's brilliant, intelligent and rousing rocker of a second album 'The Big Area' from 1989. Though too young to really appreciate it at 12 years old (being too into kiddie-pop and mainly low-rent female singers-who isn't at that age?) Shiver! 'The Big Area' suddenly exploded into my consciousness 13 years later (who said that number's unlucky?) and bridged the gap brilliantly between Duran Duran's 1988 album and their 1990 one, which was also their first to really concentrate on hard and driving rock.
This first album, though, like another guitar-based band at the same time (though female led in T'pau) is a kind of uneven assembly of hopeful parts and low-grade segments that are stirred together in the prayer the benefits pound down the incapacacitated run-off. In the end it's still hard to find which won.
I took a while to get this, so I am rather loath to disqualify it on intent but time tells, and the point is, unlike the 'The Big Area', the 3 singles from this album are by far the most memorable tunes here. So the quite luxurious 'Muscle Deep', highly-charged 'Let Her Fall' and slow-build of 'The Motive' remain in memory most-all else has to force your attention markedly. Sure there are benfits throughout. Mark Shaw is an assured vocalist of power, balance and emotion and is even better on the second album, where the far better songs deserve it more.
The other tunes all vie with each other for attention and each of them boast winning smidgens throughout their collective running times, but unlike 'Big Area', once the songs are over, it's so damned hard to distinguish them from each other. I'm hoping that one day it will happen-otherwise maybe I may end up selling this to anyone more able to afix its pleasures more deeply in their brain than I can.
'Prairie Rose' has a nice title but is rather long winded and repetitive, despite some charm and 'The Hitcher' suffers worse from this. 'Blessed Days' and 'Laughter Party' near the start of the album seem to boast more instant hook-lines and more energising riffs, but annoyingly the words are often hard to distinguish-sung too quickly in places-often around the chorus and too much guitar overriding the background around it. Likewise 'A Quiet Place (Apathy And Sympathy)' seems to dip seconds after finally kicking into gear. So it is with this lot, apart from the singles-it's all up and down. Perhaps that's the way with guitar music-my preferences for synth-music will never abate as you get far more for your money-plus far less predictable music-I always find guitar acts more limiting. Having said that, Big Country rocked through the 80s daringly, but no one could beat 'Crowded House's glorious debut for guitar bands-and then they followed it up with 3 more equally perfect albums-but all stunningly different.
There's no doubting the level of intelligence displayed on the 'Jerico's' first effort but a first effort is all it really is-even 'The Motive' is rather longer than it's 5 minute single version.
I would say own this album and I do-after all, so much music was owner-worthy in the 80s-unlike the 90s and now. But get 'Then Jerico's' 2nd album first and be aware this is a long work-in progress-unusual for me-I prefer my albums instant and/or regular players-a few months work is okay but for something I already like, it doesn't auger too well. But I haven't kicked it out yet, even if I'm not singing nd dancing all over the house, maybe there's still a place for it. And it is better than T'pau's debut and Big Country's rushed and dull sophomore effort, even if the truly cool songs had to wait for Shaw and co's 1989 air-puncher. Otherwise look to the 'Bangles' and 'Voice Of The Beehive' for your late 80s guitar music-and remember there's also enough (but not too much) twang and strings in much of the fantastic synth-based giants that rightfully dominated the 1980s. Here's to them!