Sing This All Together (See What Happens)
Arch and sophisticated Late Show-friendly pop-soul duo from the Tony Parsons school of moaning about how pop had lost said ‘soul’ since the sixties finally put their money where their mouth is and throw in something to match the posturing. Yes, they’d experimented successfully with ‘classic pop’ stylings on previous offerings, notably inaugural hit Labour Of Love, but this was their furthest-out excursion by some distance and all the more surprising for coming soon after blander-than-bland hit ballad Looking For Linda. EIGHT POINTS.
Brought His Mellotrode And Freaked ‘Em All Out
A bit of a tricky one this; it’s very evidently and enjoyably in the psychedelic tradition, but it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly how and why. On first glance it appears to be pitched somewhere between the sort of paisley-patterned Motown-goes-a-bit-funny ‘psychedelic soul’ that was common currency in the late sixties, and the jazzy stylings that characterised some MOR fave letting their musical hair down in the ‘variety break’ in the middle of an early BBC Daytime show. Which alone would net it a respectable score, but then there’s also that sitar – a real sitar, mind – plunking away in merrily melody-disregarding fashion throughout. And, representing an altogether different strain of oddness, Craig Charles on backing vocals. SEVEN POINTS.
On The Bus Or Off The Bus?
A bit light on acid-frazzled imagery, to be frank, and while there’s plenty of metaphysical imagery to choose from it’s hardly going to make The 13th Floor Elevators worry about looking a bit ‘square’. That said, it’s one of the few songs in this showdown to take up ideological arms and lock horns with the then-current sociopolitical malaise – let us not forget that they were one of the driving forces behind Artists For An Independent Scotland, and that Labour Of Love was little more than a massive two fingers to Thatcher – and as such that’s got to net them a respectable score. SEVEN POINTS.
The Green And Purple Lights Affect Your Sight
There’s a bit of a misconception going on here that overindulging in retro-Americana will somehow constitute ‘psychedelic’ (so, just like a Lenny Kravitz record then, ho ho), and the video simply sees them driving a big old-fashioned purple taxi along the ‘freeway’, stopping at doughnut stands along the way etc etc. Undoubtedly this was an attempt at some sort of pointed comment about something, but visually speaking it’s all a bit of a let-down, and adorning said retro-roadster with a couple of ‘hippy’ accoutrements (all of which are far too Yank-leaning anyway) just isn’t enough. FOUR POINTS.
I’m Picking Up Bad Vibrations
Though it came in the middle of a substantial run of hits, and was everywhere on the radio for a while, something went inexplicably yet very wrong and Ordinary Angel stalled in that much-coveted (by Northside) Number 42 slot. One of the least deserving flops of the era. SIX POINTS.
Ha Ha Ha… We Blew Your Mind!
Ordinary Angel‘s chart-underachievement signalled the beginning of the end for Hue & Cry as a top forty act, but the brothers Kane took this merely as an excuse to embrace the status of ‘cult favourites’, releasing increasingly experimental albums that dabbled in funk, folk and even free-form jazz, not to mention a very weird Nu-Yorican-style cover of Prince’s Sign O’The Times. In tandem with this, Pat Kane in particular upped his ‘dispatches from the frontline of popular culture’ ante, and it wasn’t unusual to see him on late-night Channel 4 arguing that The Avengers didn’t exist or something. NINE POINTS, affording them a Thatcher-baiting total of FORTY ONE POINTS.
Next Time – it’s Matt and Luke, surrounded by visuals that really will ‘make you puke’…