If The Human Menagerie, Cockney Rebel's debut album, was a journey into the bowels of decadent cabaret, The Psychomodo, their second, is like a trip to the circus. Except the clowns were more sickly perverted than clowns normally are, and the fun house was filled with rattlesnakes and spiders. Such twists on innocent childhood imagery have transfixed authors from Ray Bradbury to Stephen King, but Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel were the first band to set that same dread to music, and the only ones to make it work. The Psychomodo was also the band's breakthrough album. The Human Menagerie drew wild reviews and curious sales, but it existed as a cult album even after "Judy Teen" swung out of nowhere to give the band a hit single in spring 1974. Then "Mr Soft" rode his bloodied big top themes into town and Rebelmania erupted. The Psychomodo, still possessing one of the most elegantly threatening jackets of any album ever, had no alternative but to clean up. Harley's themes remained essentially the same as last time out – fey, fractured alienation; studied, splintered melancholia, and shattered shards of imagery which mean more in the mind than they ever could on paper.
Before Depeche Mode inherited the techno-pop crown, Ultravox reigned over the electronic landscape. Pseudo Echo were one of Ultravox's most loyal fans, and their affection for the pioneering new romantics gushes from every synthethic groove on Love an Adventure. Thankfully, being a facsimile wasn't enough for Pseudo Echo. The cover of Lipps Inc.'s disco classic "Funkytown" was their only U.S. hit from Love an Adventure, and it was sadly misrepresentative of the album's stylish, hook-loaded dance rock. On "A Beat for You," driving hard rock riffs puncture Pierre Gigliotti and James Leigh's wall of synthesizers. Vocalist Brian Canham has a darkly erotic voice that only new wave groups seem to breed – imagine a cross between Jim Kerr of Simple Minds and Midge Ure of, no surprise, Ultravox. Pseudo Echo want people to move their feet, and this album is stocked with dancefloor scorchers such as "Living in a Dream", "Listening", and the funky "Try". "Funkytown" may have given Pseudo Echo a glimpse of commercial success, but the rest of Love an Adventure proved that they were capable of more.
A year on from one of the most satisfying hard rock debuts of the age, 1972's Bulletproof, Hard Stuff were hard-pressed to make such a brazen impression on their second LP, and that despite having spent the intervening time pushing themselves to the very brink of a breakthrough. Funkier than its predecessor, and more experimental too, the uncompromisingly named Bolex Dementia substituted much of its predecessor's raw power with proggier tones – John Du Cann himself compared the title track to Spooky Tooth's equally vague meanderings with Pierre Henry. And as if that were not difficult enough, the album was decked in what remains an astonishingly ugly cover, and promoted…
In 1973, Mike Oldfield burst onto the British music scene with his debut album Tubular Bells, two long instrumental suites in which Oldfield stitched together a series of melodies into a grandly scaled work in which he played the many instruments himself. The album was an audacious beginning to a career than saw him become one of the most respected artists in progressive rock, as well as a successful film composer. The Complete Mike Oldfield is a collection released in 1985 which features selections from his first ten solo albums, as well as highlights from his score for the film The Killing Fields.
Fated never to rise to any heights at all, Hard Stuff – formed by guitarist John Du Cann following his unceremonious firing from Atomic Rooster – had already been through two names before they were signed to Deep Purple's Purple label; Daemon lasted a few rehearsals; Bullet survived a single; they became Hard Stuff after another Bullet fired a legal complaint at them, and Bulletproof was their riposte. It is heavy and it is loud. Period reviews mused on the Purple influence and they are not far from the mark, but only if organ were excised from the mix, to be replaced by guitars, guitars, and more guitars…
Destroyer is the fourth studio album by American rock band Kiss, released on March 15, 1976 by Casablanca Records in the US. It was the third successive Kiss album to reach the top 40 in the US, as well as the first to chart in Germany and New Zealand. The album was certified gold on April 22, 1976, and platinum on November 11 of the same year, the first Kiss album to achieve platinum. The album marked a departure from the raw sound of the band's first three albums.
Deep Obsession is a New Zealand group, notable for being the only New Zealand act to have three consecutive No.1 singles in the Official New Zealand Music Chart. Infinity is the debut album pop duo Deep Obsession. The album peaked at No.8 in the New Zealand album chart, and included three No.1 singles. At the 2000 New Zealand Music Awards, the album was honoured with five nominations - Top Group - Deep Obsession, Best Cover - "Lost in Love", Best Song - 'Cold' (written by Zara Clark/Chris Rainbow)', Top Female Vocalist - Zara Clark, (for her work on the 'Infinity' album) Most Promising Female Vocalist - Vanessa Kelly (Vanessa sings 'The Power in You' from "Infinity" album).
With Beyond Skin, Nitin Sawhney set a high bar for global fusion music. Now he's raised it with Prophesy, taking advantage of a larger budget to bring in Indian strings, a South African choir, a Chicago cabbie, soul singer Terry Callier, and Nelson Mandela, among many other things. But what could have been an awkward grab bag of sound comes together under Sawhney's sure hands and inspired songwriting. He makes the unusual work. On "Sunset," for instance, flamenco and rai meet Brazil, and the vocals of Cheb Mami and Nina Miranda work to glorious effect. Trilok Gurtu contributes some stunning kannakol (vocal percussion) to "Breathing Light," while Natacha Atlas beguiles with her singing on "Acquired Dreams." But this is more than a collection of great tunes–it's an album that ponders the way our world and civilization is developing, asking questions and challenging assumptions while still delivering some sumptuous grooves and melodies.