Thursday, 11 July 2013

Cassette experiment day 110 - World Party 'Bang!'

You may not realise this but I suffer from a musical condition known hereabouts as ‘Songs from Northern Britain syndrome’.
The syndrome manifests itself when a long-awaited follow-up to a favourite album arrives, disappoints and ends up not being appreciated for years. Named specifically after the feeling experienced when Teenage Fanclub’s epic ‘Grand Prix’ was followed by the only very slightly less epic ‘Songs from Northern Britain’. I liked the latter, but I preferred the former, so ‘Songs from etc…’ remained criminally under-rated for way too long.
If you’d like another example, how about The Stone Roses’ ‘Second Coming’ which is fantastic, but suffers by comparison with their wonderful self-titled first album. Or the fantastic 2004 offering by The Blue Nile, ‘High’. It’s brilliant, but not as good as its predecessor ‘Peace at last’ so it’s been ignored for the best part of nine years. Maybe if I’d been more than 3 years old at the time I would have dismissed ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ as ‘not a patch on ‘Revolver’’.
Our cassette experiment cassette of the day suffers as a result of ‘Songs from Northern Britain syndrome’ too. It’s World Party’s 1993 album ‘Bang!’. And it’s the follow-up to ‘Goodbye Jumbo’, which is one of my favourite albums.
‘Bang!’ starts with a very decent approximation of Bob Dylan (‘Kingdom come’) and ends (unless you count reprises, and I generally don’t) with a sublime approximation of ELO (‘All I gave’). In between you’ll experience a reasonably good pop album with an intermittent tree-hugging theme.
With track 4 ‘And God said……’ (tellingly not credited on the back of the insert) we experience an extremely brief, operatic track where God asks Man to ‘look after the planet’ and Man responds, in language not suitable for minors, very clearly in the negative. This is what can happen if you listen to too many Prince albums. And believe me, I know.
Quality dips just a touch at the beginning of side 2 – the opening track, ‘Hollywood’ featuring a predictable play on words that very quickly wears thin.
Interesting album credits include God, Bob Geldof, Carl Jung, Peter Gabriel, Kirsty MacColl, Diana Rigg, Terry-Thomas (how come he gets a hyphen?) and Greenpeace.
It’s not ‘Goodbye Jumbo’, but it definitely doesn’t deserve to be forgotten.
Label – Ensign
Year – 1993

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