Welcome to Review Revue, where every Thursday I dig through the KEXP stacks to share DJ reviews and comments written on the covers of LPs (and occasionally CDs) in the ’80s and ’90s, when the station was called KCMU, the DJs were volunteers, and people shared their opinions on little white labels instead of the internet.
It's been a while since we had some of that classic harsh DJ talk, but I'm afraid Bronski Beat's debut album — the only one released with singer Jimmy Somerville — has stepped up to fill that particular gap. I think many KCMU DJs and listeners probably appreciated the value of an album that spoke openly and honestly about life as a young gay man, particularly in the midst of the Reagan-era. And a lot of people probably enjoyed the group's dancey synth-pop sounds. But . . . well, let's just say that does not seem to have been the majority opinion at KCMU. I can't help but wonder what these reviewers might think if we could track them down and play them the new (2017) Bronski Beat album, which is, of course, titled The Age of Reason. Let's just assume they'd love it.
"An LP from the highly touted Bronski Beat. While the stuff isn't bad, it's not that interesting. Basically low keyed funk."
"Lameness almost too bland to bother commenting. Another one of those dull records that's taking up space in rotation."
"They give one heck of a boring performance live!"
"I can honestly say this is DULL!"
"Hey, this guy has a high voice. That's OK."
"Queer positive music [smiley face]"
"Their version of 'I Feel Love'* is xcellent. Donna Summers [sic] might have never done it. Best homo-disco around. 'Frankie Must Die.'" [Is this a reference to Frankie Goes to Hollywood? I have no idea.]
[NOTE: Some quick internet research reveals that this track, which also featured Marc Almond of Soft Cell, was a medley with the aforementioned "I Feel Love" and "Johnny Remember Me," a semi-obscure British pop hit from the early '60s which I know and love from a compilation of the brilliant and weird work of producer Joe Meek.]
This week's Review Revue spotlights the album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars by David Bowie. See what KCMU DJs thought back in the day – albeit about 12 years after its original release.
This week's Review Revue spotlights the album Khataclimici, China Doll by Edward Ka-Spel. See what KCMU DJs thought back in the day.