Blue in Heaven

  • Blue in Heaven
  • All the God's Men (Island) 1985 
  • Explicit Material (Island) 1986 
  • Rock 'n' Roll R.I.P. EP (Solid) 1988 

Although this young Irish quartet debuted on 45 with a fiery guitar anthem (“Julie Cries”), an inappropriate choice of producer (Martin Hannett) for their first album turned them into bass-heavy doom mongers. A remix of the single on All the Gods’ Men tells the whole sordid tale. A little light does shine through in “Sometimes,” “The Big Beat” and “In Your Eyes,” but Hannett’s lush atmospherics detract from, rather than complement, the effort.

The second record was co-produced by Island Records chief Chris Blackwell, Eric Thorngren and the band to far more appealing effect. Guitars power the mostly melodic songs along without overly coloring them; Shane O’Neill’s vocals provide the strongest character. Amidst the attractive pop, Shane’s avowed Iggy fixation comes through on the grungy “Be Your Man” (which also mentions a familiar canine variation).

The multi-personality EP chronologically straddles the band’s major-label career, with a derivative 1983 track (“On and On”) produced by the Edge and three ’87 studio efforts (light pop, ponderous plodding and Iggy-styled rock). Rounding off this strange package is a dull live ’87 take on the Stooges’ “Loose.”

[Altricia Gethers / Ira Robbins]