Hambi and the Dance

Liverpool’s Hambi and the Dance attempted an interesting combination of synthesized art-rock and traditional rock’n’roll, with mixed results. When ex-Tontrix singer/songwriter Hambi Harambolous draws on influences ranging from Phil Spector and the Searchers to the Roxy/Bowie/Ultravox school, the record can be very impressive (“Living in a Heartache,” “Madelaine”). He is less successful, however, when trying…

Go-Go’s

The enormous commercial success of Beauty and the Beat in America was not only a welcome breakthrough for new music, but proof that an all-female band could make it big under its own steam and on its own terms, without resorting to an image grounded in male fantasy, be it sex kitten or tough leatherette.…

Keys

This overlooked gem of a pop album was criminally ignored in England and never released in the States. The four Keys may wear their influences (mainly the Beatles and their producer, Joe Jackson) a bit too much on their sleeves — several of the songs sound unfortunately like outtakes from Joe’s Look Sharp! — but…

Yazoo (Yaz)

Yazoo (known as Yaz in the US) was one of England’s most engaging synth-pop duets, mostly because of the sharp contrast provided between vocalist Alison “Alf” Moyet’s incredibly rich and soulful voice and the high-tech instrumentation of ex-Depeche Mode synthesist/songwriter Vince Clarke — he of the band’s earliest and fluffiest pop songs like “Just Can’t…

Nine Below Zero

Named for a Sonny Boy Williamson song, London’s underrated Nine Below Zero started out as a cautious but promising R&B cover band but progressed to playing fresh, confident originals by the time of the band’s 1982 breakup. Releasing a live album as a debut is a mite unusual, but Live at the Marquee clearly captures…

Talk Talk

Talk Talk’s first album is slick, professional and lifeless, sounding as though it were programmed by British record company execs to be a synth-rock Foreigner. The London group earned some early comparisons to Duran Duran thanks to their double name, producer (Colin Thurston) and similarly superficial veneer. (The two young bands even toured England together…

Haircut One Hundred

One of 1982’s bright new chart groups, the six energetic young Londoners of Haircut One Hundred created a crisp mixture of melodic pop and African-American and Latin rhythms, seasoned with horns and an occasional dash of jazz. Haircut’s funk-oriented songs tend to be a bit samey (placing three of them — “Favourite Shirts,” “Lemon Firebrigade”…

Simple Minds

From an inauspiciously named punk starting point in Johnny and the Self Abusers, Simple Minds made steady progress after forming in Glasgow in 1978, developing from new wave Roxy Music/Velvet Underground aspirations (a debt renewed on the group’s 2001 covers album, which includes songs by both) to commanding anthemic power inside of three years. Between…

The Teardrop Explodes

Charming despite frequent bouts of pretentiousness, Welsh-born singer/songwriter Julian Cope (once in a crypto-band called the Crucial Three with future-Echo icon Ian McCulloch and future-Wah! man Pete Wylie) led Liverpool’s great psychedelic hope, The Teardrop Explodes, through two albums before moving on — in the midst of an aborted third — to a solo career.…

Passions

As introduced on Michael & Miranda, the Passions (most of whom had been in a London punk band called the Derelicts) appeared to be part of the post-punk movement. The record is characterized by spare arrangements, stark vocals and fairly unmelodic — though lyrically interesting — songs. Subjects like unhappy love (“Oh No, It’s You”)…

Contributors

These folks either wrote reviews that appear on the site or wrote for Trouser Press magazine. If anyone listed below cares to E-mail us with a link you’d like added, just let us know. And ditto if anyone is AWOL from this list. Grant AldenDavid AntrobusJem AswadTroy J. AugustoMichael AzerradCary BakerMichael BakerEmily BeckerJohn BergstromArt BlackJohn…