I’ve explained the concept of the dreadzone at length before – but just in case you weren’t paying close attention it’s a pile of cassettes that, for one reason or another, I’m not looking for to re-acquainting myself with.
In some instances this reluctance turns out to be justified (Paul King’s ‘Joy’ – an ill-thought out name for an album if there ever was one) and in others not to be (‘Mask’ by Bauhaus surprised me greatly).
For a few weeks now I’ve been close to listening ‘Tropical gangsters’ by Kid Creole & The Coconuts. Every day I approach the pile and this one literally shouts ‘pick me, pick me!’ I love it when people misuse the word ‘literally’ don’t you?
‘Tropical gangsters’ is a tailor-made candidate for the dreadzone for a number of reasons;
1. It’s a concept album
2. The insert includes hair, make-up and wardrobe credits
3. Everything about it screams ‘we have a quirky sense of humour’
So, on a journey to South Bank, Cleveland (UK not USA!) I removed the shocking-pink cassette from its box, loaded it into the JVC, gritted my teeth and pressed the play button.
The first thing that struck me was how much better, how much less ‘gimmicky’ the opening track ‘Annie (I’m not your Daddy)’ is in extended album form than in its slightly grating single guise. The strident hymn to self-esteem ‘I’m a wonderful thing, baby’ turned out to be hugely enjoyable too.
By the time I’d made it to the halfway mark and ‘Loving you made a fool out of me’ arrived, I turned up the volume, dropped the windows and reminded all of the other drivers on the A19 of what I had so unfairly forgotten – this is a great big album of summery fun.
Track 3, ‘Imitation’ is the only one that seems to forget to bring its brightly coloured suit to the party.
So, to Kid and his Coconuts, I’d like to offer my unreserved apology. I had fun. Again.
Label – Ze Records
Year – 1982