Age of Chance

  • Age of Chance
  • Crush Collision EP (Virgin) 1987 
  • One Thousand Years of Trouble (Virgin) 1987 
  • Mecca (UK Charisma) 1990 

Age of Chance dresses up harsh British beatbox-metal-pop with colorful, vaguely apocalyptic sloganeering. Despite all the shouting, the Leeds quartet’s biggest problem is the lack of a cohesive identity to match their records’ careening sonic stew. The six-track Crush Collision is generally shrill and undistinguished, but it does include a pretty decent cover of Prince’s “Kiss” (as well as a really awful one of the Trammps’ “Disco Inferno”).

One Thousand Years of Trouble benefits from being more gimmicky and over-the-top, with lots more sampling; even so, an album’s worth of this stuff is pretty grating. You’d be better off going no further than Side Two, song one: the insistent “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Noise?,” which was a small UK hit.

With a fairly soulful new singer (Charles Hutchinson) and more polished songwriting, Mecca is a better focused, more listenable album which, in its own modest way, comes closer than its predecessors to realizing Age of Chance’s idealized sonic melting pot. A more conventional effort, but a more enjoyable one.

[Scott Schinder]