Saturday, September 08, 2012

Music for Parties (1980)

The Silicon Teens takes the drift of the Monkees and the Archies to a logical conclusion, teaming up four people—Darryl, Jacki, Paul, and Diane, by name—who not only are not musicians, nor even human, but in fact do not exist at all. Which sure explains the lack of last names for one thing. In fact, it is a larky one-off goof project by Daniel Miller, one man alone with his thoughts in a studio, which he did shortly before starting up the Mute label, whose acts included Depeche Mode, Erasure, and Yazoo. When you think about all those things you won't be surprised to find out what Music for Parties is. Bouncy-ball synthpop covers of rock 'n' roll and/or top 40 pop standards plus a handful of originals with vaguely sinister garage gestures. So let's see here, "Memphis," "Doo Wah Diddy Diddy," "You Really Got Me," "Judy in Disguise," "Sweet Little Sixteen," do you see what I am talking about yet? It really blipped in and out fast in 1980. I found out about it when a friend pulled it out of the library of a radio station. I don't remember ever reading much about it. But I loved it immediately and intensely for a few weeks. Eventually I forgot about it until I ran across a download back in the days of mp3 blogging, and wow, flipped for it all over again. The act's biggest claim to fame has its origins on this, their only album, in the cover of "Red River Rock," which caught the attention of John Hughes, who ordered up a rerecorded version for the opening titles of 1987's Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. I like it a lot, especially the album version here (movie version can be heard here). As long as I have your attention on this matter I'd also like to commend one of the originals, the instrumental "State of Shock (pt. 2)." There does not appear to be a "State of Shock (pt. 1)," at least not on the album. It seems to me that this is as it should be. It's real outer space spy movie stuff, with lovely tones and textures to some of the bouncy-ball parts of it. Well, all parts of it are the bouncy-ball parts if you know what I mean, but it really gets itself going on a little head of steam, and builds from there. It's so easy to be infatuated with this and then forget it utterly for decades. So give it a listen now (here). You can thank me in 2044, if you remember.

No comments:

Post a Comment