Frankie Goes to Hollywood's first double album was a huge hit. Their second offering also met with some success, although it is not as well remembered. And yet, on many accounts, Liverpool can be considered as an improvement over its predecessor. For one thing, the album is shorter, more conventional. While Welcome to the Pleasuredome had some strong material, the length weakened the whole in many places. Here, the band focused on eight tracks and the result is somewhat more convincing. "Warriors of the Wasteland," "Rage Hard," and "Watching the Wildlife" were all minor hits back in 1986, and the other tracks are, for the most part, of the same quality, with perhaps "For Heaven's Sake" standing out as a favorite. Again, Trevor Horn was involved in the production (the band was signed to his famous Zang Tuum Tumb label, so it's no big surprise) – thus the production is impeccable, as one would expect from a Horn-produced album. Worth a listen if you like the band or have an interest for '80s music – of which this is not such a bad sample.
Strip away all the hype, controversy, and attendant craziness surrounding Frankie – most of which never reached American shores, though the equally bombastic "Relax" and "Two Tribes" both charted well – and Welcome to the Pleasuredome holds up as an outrageously over-the-top, bizarre, but fun release. Less well known but worthwhile cuts include by-definition-camp "Krisco Kisses" and "The Only Star in Heaven," while U.K. smash "The Power of Love" is a gloriously insincere but still great hyper-ballad with strings from Anne Dudley. In truth, the album's more a testament to Trevor Horn's production skills than anything else. To help out, he roped in a slew of Ian Dury's backing musicians to provide the music, along with a guest appearance from his fellow Yes veteran Steve Howe on acoustic guitar that probably had prog rock fanatics collapsing in apoplexy. The end result was catchy, consciously modern – almost to a fault – arena-level synth rock of the early '80s that holds up just fine today, as much an endlessly listenable product of its times as the Chinn/Chapman string of glam rock hits from the early '70s.