Classix Nouveaux

  • Classix Nouveaux
  • Classix Nouveaux (Liberty) 1981 
  • Night People (UK Liberty) 1981 
  • La Verité (UK Liberty) 1982 
  • Secret (UK Liberty) 1983 
  • Sal Solo
  • Heart and Soul (UK MCA) 1985 

Including two ex-members of X-Ray Spex, this quartet of poseurs, led by singer/multi-instrumentalist Sal Solo (whose totally bald pate and permanently serious expression make him resemble a constipated Yul Brynner), uses both synthesizers and regular rock tools (guitar, bass, drums, sax) to turn out talented if shallow dance rock that’s utterly pretentious…but not unattractive.

Night People (retitled Classix Nouveaux in the US) actually includes a couple of enjoyable tracks (“Guilty” stands out) that are straightforward and melodic enough to be recognizable as songs; the remainder of the record consists of windy instrumentals and foolish sci-fi tales. Their second effort, La Verit√©, goes over the top, being far too intricate and overblown. Turn down the volume and the music can serve as subtle ambient noise.

Produced by Alex Sadkin and employing guest musicians to add horns and other embellishments, Secret takes a more aggressive and rhythmic attack, aiming straight for the dancefloor with loud, energetic numbers like “All Around the World” and “No Other Way.” They still find room to include refined and textured creations (√† la Japan) and even an engaging pop song, “Forever and a Day.” Although Solo’s singing remains the band’s least enticing feature, the impressive variety and sophistication makes Secret the band’s best album, one well worth repeated playings.

Since the band’s dissolution, Solo has fashioned a career in keeping with his adopted surname; he actually had two UK hits in the mid-’80s.

[Ira Robbins]