Name: The Hoovers
Album: Skin and Blisters
Style: Ska, New Wave
Similar Bands: Madness, English Beat, Capes, Squeeze
One-Word Review: Goofy, Building Hooligan Romp
Based out of: San Francisco, CA
Label: Paradigm, Airstrip Records
Skin and Blisters - Cover, Sleeve, Record
Skin and Blisters- Back, Lyrics, Record
Skin & Blisters - CreditsSkin & Blisters (1980)
- The Good Life 4:57
- Jimmy Jones 2:49
- I Got You Babe 2:43
- The Brighton Run 3:13
- To Your Mother 2:47
- The World Gone Mad 3:14 /
- The Day They Made Him King 3:53
- Roly Poly 2:32
- She Want It 3:03
- Pretty Little Blossom Song 2:05
- Captain Scarlet (Skin & Blisters) 1:50
Members & Other Bands:
Norman Baja - Drums, Synare (A Cruel Hoax)
Michael Helmer - Bass, Guitar
William Sell - Vox, Guitar, Chimes
Paul Whiting - Vox, Keys
Stuart Jacob Glasser - Producer, Engineer
Stephen Hart - Producer
Jeff Tracy - Engineer
Jim Drayper - Engineer
Four by Two - Bells
Jamison Goodman - Photography
Tom Bonauro - Art Direction, Design
Raul Torres - Hair
Keith Hollings - Make Up
Cee lePage - Jewelry
Maggie & Rovilla - Model
George Horn - Mastering
I've never heard of this band. When i picked up the record, i noticed that it has the sticker from the radio station, with notes calling it an "interesting rock/ska sound." From the image on the cover, I'd assume this was some darkwave, Siouxie Sioux style music.
By way of England, the band began as a duo that moved to California. They eventually settled in San Fran to form the band, where, it is hypothesized, that they were the only American band ever approached to join the ska label Two Tone. They only had the one cheaply produced album and an EP, and faded away by 1981.
“The Good Life” is a side to side, sneaky, slinky bass beat and nervous new wave / Elvis Costello- style organ. Thick British hoodlum accent sings along with a melody that strongly resembles a younger Madness. A piano trills behind the blocky chorus. About three minutes into the track, the song changes up to a driving frantic section, with two sets of vocals repeating the same lyric over and over, building to a chaotic ending for (a little long) two minutes.
“Jimmy Jones” is a quick paced authentic ska melody: hipper, happy, with vocals that rely on the percussive nature of the accent. It is a fun romp, and silly lyrics involving romance with a fish. The song ends as the steel drum synth plays out with a manly chant over top.
“I Got You Babe” is just a terrible cover. Piano kicks the song off, and the melody becomes familiar almost immediately, but is light and synth infused. The vocals crack and waver, lacking confidence at first. But musically, it is a fun light ska version of the song that builds at the end.
“The Brighton Run” is a slower paced ticking ska song with a fun bouncy bass and synth lines. It also continues with a story line involving more of the fish theme from “Jimmy Jones.” Part of the instrumental sections are a bit sinister and carnival in nature.
“To Your Mother” is a school-yard mocking song with a fast paced, rollercoaster of a melody that is somewhere between Squeeze and Madness. The build-up to and sing-along chorus is super catchy, and a little goofy. The vocals follow the melody with a spitting cadence, but are very fun to follow along with, and super British.
“The World Gone Mad” continues with a slight different variety of rollicking, spitting/stuttering vocal cadence, but the words seem to just roll of the tongue, falling into melodic place. It has a solid build up and delivery into the chorus, which is anthemic, and stands out brightly. This is a very solid song.
“The Day They Made Him King” starts with some artificial chirping birds seemingly blown up, followed by soldiers marching and church bells. Then a carnival ska melody picks up, and overly pleasant British vocals follow a very comfortable melody. The purposeful pauses in the chorus really builds anticipation and enhances the song. This reminds me of the Capes a lot. There is a short sentimental breakdown with a musical reset, before it launches back into a final verse, and a repetitive chorus section, which is all you’ve been waiting for: repetition of the chorus. Such a fun, bouncy track.
“Roly Poly” seems to pick up right where the last song ended, with bouncy bass and organ melody. The chorus features a down trilling sci-fi synth section that increases anxiousness and jittery reaction. It builds very well to the very end.
“She Want It” is a little slower and swaying sing-songy. It is closer to authentic ska than most of the album, almost feeling like a classic pop oldie. Most of the vocals have an echoing fx added.
“Pretty Little Blossom Song” seems like a somewhat racist song. It is a live recording, and is introduced as “a treat for everyone oriental in the audience.” And it only features chimes that reflect oriental stereotypes in the very beginning. The song itself is a chaotic bum rush of tempo and jittery British vocals that are chewed up and spit out in a very fast pace.
“Captain Scarlet (Skin & Blisters)” feels like a Squeeze and Devo combined song. It is fast paced, too, and has a new wave bouncy feel, and a Difford-Tillbrook style harmony as the two vocalists sing together. It sounds exhausting to sing on repeat as they do.
Stand Out Track: The Day They Made Him King
Tone and Wave
Marco on the Bass