During the summer of 1985 Microdisney had already lost all illusions about their potential commercially speaking. This second album was not what people would called a long awaited one. Recorded in a chaotic way (the drum part was the last thing to be put on the tape), this is a true masterpiece from track 1 to track 10 and "Are you happy ?" is its epicenter.
Cathal Coughlan (who at the time renamed himself Blah Blah and claimed to play keyboards and plastic pubis)is now a solo artist and still one of the most beautiful voice in england. Sean O'Hagan have finally achieved success through the High Llamas and Stereolab.
from The clock comes down the stairs (Virgin), available on CD (Rev-Ola)
04 Jun 04 ·felonius: I have to agree. This is one of the most poignant, plaintive tracks I have ever heard, O'Hagan's soaring Telecaster solo launching it into orbit far above the mire of other 80's indie rock. (I think it might have been influenced by Stephen Stills' solo on 'Bound to Lose' from the Manassas album - another guitar solo to make you weep).
Fantastic piece of gentle soft rock, filled with simple and effective bittersweet lyrics. Soundwise, delicado appropriately described it in his review as a "cooler and classier take on the Chad & Jeremy sound with superior performances, songwriting and arrangements". I can absolutely subscribe to that description, the whole album is a long lost softrock gem.
from Daybreak (Rev-Ola CR REV 80), available on CD
If the free design had come from greenwich village and opted for a more folk pop approach they could have sounded like the candian siblings Chuck and Mary. Their songs perhaps doesn´t have the same strong song hooks as "the design" but way more make up for it in their timeless sound and magical voices. Especially on this heartrending track which you can find in an orchestrted version on their second album or acoustic on their first.I´d go for the acoustic one.
available on CD - the last word or life is a stream (rev-ola)
This song is an intriguing one for me, I can never get enough of it! It's one of the easy listening classics from the early 70's and is one of the most perfect examples of the "Now Sound" genre, recorded by a Hawaiian bar band led by lead singer Liz Damon. Interestingly, it is a cover of a song written by Chicago soul songwriter Johnny Cameron and it was originally recorded by Betty Everett on the Uni label. I was lucky enough to find a copy of Betty's original version, but unfortunately her version has never been put on CD.
This song has a delightfully slow tempo and dreamy, romantic lyrics that somehow seem timeless. To me, the song always seemed to be in an older style than its early 70's release date would suggest. The bridge features great horn playing and a wonderful descending bass run.
The original 45 on White Whale Records had a song called "You're Falling in Love" on the flip side, and that song too is a classic, in my opinion.
from Liz Damon's Orient Express (White Whale), available on CD
22 Jul 08 ·prufrock68: Yep, this song is definitely of its time. It smacks of 'easy-listening' radio, from the staid brass break, the gentle, on-the-beat marimba strokes, and the whispery thin lead vocals of Liz and her equally restrained backup fellows behind her. Maybe the song just feels slower to you in this version. I don't think the Betty Everett version is any faster--it's just more rhythmic with its slightly funky percussion and string arrangements. Don't get me wrong, I like both versions, this one as much for its that kind of cool 'dated' feel as anything else.
It's hard to recommend a single track from this album, the whole thing is a classic of California pop. I'm glad it's finally been reissued on CD.
Mark Eric Malmborg created a genuine masterpiece with this recording, which has a bittersweet mood throughout that reminds me of "Pet Sounds". I originally came across this LP in 1989 when I found a copy at a thrift store (it had once been in the collection of the local public library!)and just looking at the cover I figured it would be great, and it was!
"Lynn's Baby" is the last track on the original LP and is a beautiful song about a girl who has been seduced and left with an out of wedlock baby by an older, manipulative guy who's left her after the usual empty promises...rather an unusual theme for a pop song! The combination of Mark Eric's voice (somewhat reminiscent of Brian Wilson) and the gorgeous string arrangement are enough to really bring out the goose bumps.
This CD is one that I absolutely can't recommend enough to fans of the beautiful 1960's pop music.
from A Midsummer's Day Dream (Revue), available on CD