MATT BIANCO ‘Sneakin’ Out The Backdoor’ (WEA)
Paddy: Didn’t like it… I know these records are editable – I don’t think that constitutes a good dance track.
RM: Is that just a reﬂection of using drum machines?
Paddy: Yeah, but the thing is I don’t like putting machines, drum machines or synthesisers down as if there’s something inherently wrong with them, there isn’t. It’s iust too bland.
RM: But is it a hit?
Paddy: A hit? God knows, what do I know about hits?
RM: Wendy?… sorry, I can’t translate a shake of the head.
OMD ‘Locomotion’ (Virgin)
RM: First of all, who is it?
Paddy: It’s Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark, I could tell from his voice. But the baseline right from the beginning is Freda Payne’s ‘Band Of Gold’. The trouble with them is that I always put them down but then after about three weeks I really like them… like ‘Souvenir’. The chorus is OK, but… no. Probably a hit, though! A hit like ‘Couldn’t Bear To Be Special’!
Paddy: Wendy’s really not that fond of music.
TRACIE ‘Soul’s On Fire’ (Respond)
Paddy: I’m starting to feel as if we’re the only group using a drummer… I know we haven’t got one at the moment!… They’ve just switched the drum machine on and started writing round it. The bit in the chorus is so clumsily welded to the rest.
RM: A Paul Weller song.
Paddy: ls it?… no, no, no… I don’t even know if that’s a hit. it just washes over me… I don’t even hate it. It’s just so dull. Boring. An insult to the ears.
RM: I think that’ll do nicely…
QUEEN ‘I Want To Break Free’ (EMI)
RM: Do your worst…
Martin: From the men who gave us ‘Fat Bottomed Girls’ and ‘I Want To Ride My Bicycle’ another gem… I went off them when David Bowie left ’em!
Paddy: I’ll put on my serious hat and say… they have an awful lot in common with Abba in that they try to be all things to all people – that song is them trying to reach for ‘Every Breath You Take’ type of territory. a kind of traditionally based song that’s supposed to be very simple and will appeal to everyone.
RM: A hit?
Paddy: A hit, definitely.
Martin: Yup… Freddie’s the boy For me!
RM:… and Wendy nods sagely.
Paddy: It’s not ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ is it, Smithy?
JOE JACKSON ‘Happy Ending’ (A&M)
Paddy: No, that does nothing for me at all – the best thing he s done is an acappella version of ‘Is She Really Going Out With Him’, that was very good. But if I don’t like somebody’s voice then that’s it… and I don’t like his songs. The voice… awful, affected.
Wendy: Like yours.
LOTUS EATERS ‘Set Me Apart’ (Arista)
Paddy: I don’t know what to say … Oh God (looking at sleeve)… what a gorgeous haircut! My God look at them!… look at that!
Martin: I’ll lust say that their last single… which wasn’t a hit… called ‘You Think You’re Something Special’… which had nothing to do with ‘Couldn’t Bear To Be Special’… I thought was a great song and should have been a hit, and as that took more than one listen I might get to like this one.
Paddy:_Talk about giving people ammunition when you say you’re wimps… but ‘setting yourself apart from other boys’… I mean, For God’s sake.
Martin:… Also I saw them on TV and they’ve got a great drummer and if he wants to join the band… we’re without one!
SHANNON ‘Give Me Tonight’ (Phonogram)
Paddy: It’s got to be someone like Gloria Gaynor, Thelma Houston, Sharon Redd… or even The Assembly.
RM: It’s Shannon.
Paddy: Shannon? Who’s Shannon? I couldn’t make it to the chorus… I couldn’t stand that dit dit dit style of synth – those one note lines, the electro drums, the whole bit – it does absolutely nothing for me.
BLANCMANGE ‘Don’t Tell Me’ (London)
Paddy: I just get the feeling that they start with a drum machine, and I’m not sure that’s the best form of inspiration. I’ve never thought that writing a dance record was synonymous with setting up a rhythm that was the same all the way through. That was metronomically accurate. None of these things have any pull in them, or push when it gets to the next part of the song.
RM: No sense of tension and release.
Paddy: Exactly, tension and release – that’s what it hasn’t got. People who do it well like Arif Mardin or Quincy Jones… make it work up to something and move. London Records have got better bands… like the Daintees.
ZENA DEJONAY ‘I’ve Got To Find A Way’ (Calibre)
Paddy: It means nothing to me. don’t understand it… perhaps it’s a great record for dancing to. I feel like the sort of person who phones into lunchtime Radio One and says “It’d be good to dance to”. It just doesn’t intersect with the way I look at records, we just pass in space and time… I feel like Doctor Who! How many of these things do you have to go through each week? You’d almost do anything for a record that would maybe surprise you by virtue of it not having a synth bass and computer drummer… I’d rather use any kid out of a youth club band for the Sprouts than use any of the drums we’ve heard on any of these records. I’d sacrifice regularity for a bit of will power.
HOLGER CZUKAY ‘The Photo Song’ (Virgin)
Paddy: Well, Can have always been a very influential German band… Ha bloody Ha! These guys are kidding the world – they can’t write songs, can’t write tunes, can’t write words. They’re not like the Sprouts, we’re far too wimpy – we actually believe in things like not putting down the first thing that comes into your head, so goddamned old-fashioned.
RM: This doesn’t even succeed on a whimsical level.
Paddy: That’s right, that is truly twee. That is a typical Virgin Records idea of flinging enough against a wall till something sticks.
(Wendy McTwee likes the cover).
ALISHA ‘All Night Passion’ (4th & Broadway)
Paddy: Sounds like she’s been listening to the S.O.S. Band’s ‘Be Good To Me’. The chord sequence is exactly the same and the tune is very similar. That’s all I can say. That record had the distinction of being the only one to have used the Linn Drum clap function played with the toes!
RM: Instead of a kitten walking across a piano you’ve now got a kitten walking across a Linn Drum!
Paddy: Yes, an interesting studio effect – smear the Linn Drum with Kit-E-Kat then set the cat loose – it sounds like an Eno project!
STEPHANIE LAWRENCE ‘Only He Has The Power To Move Me‘ (Polydor)
Paddy: Andrew Lloyd Webber! He is astonishing. This guy… I don’t even know where to begin. First of all Stephanie Lawrence sounds like Barbra Streisand with a cheapo backing. My moment has come when I can tell the world what I think about him and I’m lost for words. He’s awful. He’s so secondhand. He’s working in the theatrical tradition which I do admire so much, yet his things are so… (SNAP! McAloon snaps the record in two!) Oh God, I didn’t even mean to do that – that just shows how durable his talent is. He must know there’s no depth to anything he’s doing. He’s got no viewpoint. there’s no character to his music, no idiosyncrasy . He’s got to know this is twelfth rate… twentieth rate, a shadow of a shadow of a shadow of a record. It’s even made on cheap plastic.
SHILLELAGH SISTERS ‘Give Me My Freedom’ (CBS)
Paddy: I haven’! even the heart to damn it. It is an awful record, an atrocious record. ‘Give me my freedom’… isn’t that what record reviewers always say… why am I locked in this room?
RE-FLEX ‘Praying To The Beat’ (EMI)
Paddy: ‘We’re all moving like machinery’… these guys who use clever machines in the studio then only have the imagination to actually write lyrics about them – any human being who sees some sort of modernist virtue in… (SNAP The Re-Flex disc fails the McAloon bendy test)… they think this makes them very, very groovy. They want a kicking… you can tell they’re just old men.
RM: They are without doubt the worst group, ever.
Paddy: That’s great. They’re just people looking or an angle to make a fortune.
KOOL AND THE GANG ‘In The Heart’ (De-Lite)
Paddy: Nothing whatsoever to say about it… so bland it’s untrue. Massive hit!
VAN MORRISON ‘Dweller On The Threshold’ (Phonogram)
Paddy: I like that… I’ve only liked a few things of his but I like the idea of him.
ROCKWELL ‘Obscene Phone Caller’ (Motown)
Martin: From the man who’s dad brought us everything– nothing!
Paddy: I can’t really be bothered waiting for it but I’m sure he must have roped in somebody famous to rescue it about three inches into that twelve inch. It isn’t good enough to be Berry Gordy’s son.
PERSONAL COLUMN ‘Strictly Confidential’ (Stiff)
Paddy: Go on Mart – Martin “music ended for me after ‘The Devil Has All The Best Tunes” McAloon…
Martin: It’s pub rock for John Peel – it’s just good pub rock.
Paddy: It isn’t even that, it’s bland pub rock.
Paddy: No redeeming virtues there at all… what do you think. shorty?
Wendy: I think it’s brilliant.
THE KANE GANG ‘Small Town Creed’ (Kitchenware)
Paddy: I have to make this Record Of The Week, definitely. Because it does trash everything else so far, except Luther’s voice – I know it’s a totally different market from the Sprouts, it’s not song orientated…
RM: it’s groove orientated.
Paddy: …which is something I’m not very good at ‘cos I don’t dance. I don’t understand that groove mentality. it’s totally alien to me. I go more on their intentions. Record Of The Week… and that’s got absolutely nothing to do with the brillant production job that Dave Brewis did on ‘Swoon’.
LUTHER VANDROSS ‘I Wanted Your Love’ (Epic)
Paddy: The best voice we’ve heard all day…. And if he wants to join the Sprouts – I’d seriously love him to produce us, and failing that I’d love him to cover ‘Elegance”. That isn’t the best of songs but just to hear the way he sings… it’s always good. I like the line about… ‘his friend phoned up and told him he’d just won a million dollars and a trip around the world, so forget that girl’. Not as good as ‘Never Too Much’.
RM: So, Wendy, imagine yourself in Newcastle Tiffanys at midnight… would you get up and strut your stuff to that?
Paddy: Martin Wood. He’d strut his stuff!
Wendy: I don’t dance.
Paddy: Wendy would as well.
Wendy: If I was forced.