Ireland’s Ruefrex (whose first release was an EP on the estimable Good Vibrations label) is one of the growing legion of nouveau guitar bands whose existence proves how influential (and inimitable) U2 really is. Flowers for All Occasions is a forgettable album, produced by Mick Glossop, which fits nicely alongside the earnest and overblown pomp of the Alarm, Zerra I, the Waterboys, etc. The drums sound annoyingly huge, and lead vocalist Allan Clarke is a breast-beating Richard Jobson type. On the rare occasion songs display some subtlety, you know just when the big climax will occur — they have energy, but no idea how to use it. To make things worse, “Even in the Dark Hours” proves that ’70s-length guitar solos aren’t totally dead. Avoid this one.
Produced by drummer/lyricist Paul Burgess, Political Wings offers five new songs recorded live in the studio. As poor as the ugly industrial funk is, it’s no match for the self-righteous lyrics.