Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Here Comes Trouble

Any Trouble were a quartet out of Manchester whose Stiff Records' 1980 debut, WHERE ARE ALL THE NICE GIRLS was jammed with lively, jangly, witty, irresistible new-wave pop AND a cool rockabilly cover of Springteen's "Growing Up." What more could you ask for?

The only track that casual listeners may remember was the reggae-influenced minor hit "Second Choice," promoted with a dull video in the early days of MTV that highlighted their shortcomings in visual appeal way more than it showcased their music. I'm sure the listening public got a load of these guys and figured they were a skinny-tie wearing Elvis Costello ripoff act with a shlubby balding singer who didn't even wear stylish eyeglasses.

Be that as it may, WHERE ARE ALL THE NICE GIRLS is just terrific. "Playing Bogart" one of the most unique and underlooked songs of the era (that song is actually a cover from an even less-known band known as 23 Jewels, I discovered). If there's a better young-guy-struggling-to-get-his-shit-together-before-you-go-out song I'd like to hear it.

 A couple more albums with similar stuff and results, and Any Trouble were out of business by 1984. Singer and songwriter Clive Gregson went on to a successful career as a songwriter and performer in England but has reformed Any Trouble twice: Once for 2007's LIFE IN REVERSE, and just now for PRESENT TENSE.

A couple spins would suggest little has changed with the jangle-pop formula. Although at an hour and 10 minutes I haven't gotten to the end yet, and the lead single is a countrified tribute to Glen Campbell, it's pretty good.

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