I will start by saying I really wanted to like this record. The image is so good: Adam Ant with Jamiroquai and just a dash of Michael Jackson. Who could lose with style like this. And they almost don’t.
Sadly what goes wrong is that they seem to have lost interest half way through. The record starts well with a nice retro inspired lush sound but after that the rot sets in. Even the singles don’t even feel like they are the equal of their image, yes they sparkle and shimmer but the melodies aren’t tight and clear enough to stop the songs from being 2nd best.
The first song, Standing On The Shore lifts into a shimmering mirror ball moment that Jay Kay himself would have been happy with but it doesn’t come off in the end. It was a trick bolted on to a song that refuses to assert itself in a manner as bold as the costuming.
The lead single again starts sounding good with nods to 80’s production but fails to create the compelling lead lines that every 80’s artist knew were vital to airplay. Ok so this song was a hit and compared to other stuff on the radio that was about right. However as a song to be remembered in 20 years, sorry chaps.
After that the album becomes increasingly annoying. Not annoying enough to need to hit skip (except perhaps for that track, you know the one, it starts nasty and goes nowhere) but annoying because it could and should have been so much more. It should be a record the equal of something like Pseudo Echo’s Autumnal Park. A moment we will remember life to have been shining. A record to want to listen to forever even if it isn’t Hotel California.
Most frustrating of all though is the final song, Without You. This song sounds like it could be one of the nicest on the record but it’s they all decided to leave the studio, producer, tea boy and all before they did much more than record a demo version. I’m left wondering what they were thinking. I want this song to be finished. It could be their Sigue Sigue Sputnik’s Atari Baby or at least a sweet way to finish the album but in the end it feels like we get flipped the bird.
Adam and Jay knew their songs had to be as dashing as their duds. Ultimately this record is is just short of pants. I’m glad I just borrowed it from the library.