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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

City Boy - The Day The Earth Caught Fire

Name: City Boy
Album: The Day The Earth Caught Fire
Year: 1979
Style: Prog
Similar Bands: 10CC, Queen, Journey, Styx
"One-Word" Review: Overthetop-Theatri-Prog
Based Out Of: Birmingham, England
Label: Atlantic, Warner Communications

The Day the Earth Caught Fire - Cover & Insert
The Day the Earth Caught Fire - Back & Insert
The Day the Earth Caught Fire - Record

The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1979)
  1. The Day the Earth Caught Fire 5:21 (sample)
  2. It's Only the End of the World 4:01 (sample)
  3. Interrupted Melody 5:26 (sample)
  4. Modern Love Affairs 3:27 (sample)
  5. New York Times 5:07 (sample)/
  6. Up in the Eighties 4:18 (sample)
  7. Machines 5:01 (sample)
  8. Ambition/Me & My Tarot/Rev-On/The End 12:36 (sample)

    Album Rating (1-10):5.0
Members & Other Bands:Steve Broughton - Vox, Acoustic Guitar
Chris Dunn - Bass & Acoustic Guitar
Lol Mason - Vox (Maisonettes)
Mike Slamer - Electric Guitars, Bass (Streets)
Max Thomas - Keyboards, Backing Vox
Roy Ward - Drums, Vocals
Robert John Lange - Producer
Tim Friese-Greene - Engineer, Honky Synth: on Rev-On
Clive Calder - Management & Direction
Ralph Simon - Management & Direction
Kendal Stubbs - Bass & Percussion: on Modern Love Affair
Mutt Lange - Bass & Backing Vox: on ...End of the World
Huey Lewis - Harp: on ...End of the World
Derek "Carol" King - Road Personnel, Piano: on God Save the King
Louis Clarke - String Arrangement
Speaking Clock - Zella Studios
Don Brautigam - Cover Illustration
Jim Houghton - Photography
Bob Defrin - Art Direction
Dave Smith - Road Personnel

Unknown-ness: I've never heard of these guys. But from the cover art, year and the long title, I was pretty positive that they would be a prog band, with a slight potential to be play cheezy metal.

Album Review: An electronic voice clock starts the album, saying that it is 3p precisely. Then the cinematic prog starts. Dual voices sing in extreme theatrics: one double layered voice in high, one solo voice in normal pitch. The composition reminds me of Queen: loud metal guitars, strings played hectically in the background, a heavy drum beat. There are many musical time breaks of slow and quick, creating a complexly built song, full with a dramatic electronic swoosh ending. "...End of the World" has over the top, Freddie Mercury styled vocals, and again, a very theatrical presentation. Not as much prog as the first, but more Journey-Rock. It is very repetitive and many guests add to the track musically (Mutt Lang & Huey Lewis). "Interrupted Melody" starts with a Billy Joel style Piano. Vocally similar to the Dire Straits, the song starts out as a melodic ballad. Then the melody is literally interrupted with loud guitars, crashing drums and a prog-chorus of vocals. We are then taken back to the balladeer, singing his piano driven song with bass and drums added. There is more passion in his voice, and more aggression in the music left over from the loud "interruption," which inevitably happens again with the same musical formula. "Modern Love Affair" starts off with the high pitch Queen chorus, and is followed up with singing from one voice out of the chorus. The song is a relic example of 70's production, from the bass line, to the produced sound of the double layered guitars, to the mixing of the vocal chorus. It is a slower (but not slow) catchy jam. "New York Times" carries on the slower lite-rock jam, with strings and smoothed vocals. The song reminds me of a slow Jellyfish song. This is a story song, each verse a continuing chapter, and the chorus a capsulating conclusion. There is an instrumental break, with whiny, whammy guitar playing, before we end the track with another repetition of the chorus, and an instrumental climax, with swirling strings in the background.

Side 2: "Up in the Eighties" fades into a loud crash, more swirling electronic sounds in the background, the song is one part "Eye of the Tiger," one part "Separate Ways." The chorus is a funky groove, with bouncy piano showing the only positive daylight in the sinister tempo of bass and drums. A piano bar piano solo separates "80's" and "Machines." Then metal in full force erupts from the speakers with loud singing. The chorus is a frantic, theatric chant of 'machines.' I am reminded of 'Mr Roboto.' It is a very driving song, and the musical interlude sounds like a meshing of excited energetic, up-beat video game music. Which is ironic, because the song references video games as coin-op machines, but at the time of this song, there was no idea that this music would be the style of music that would accompany home video game systems in the 90's. The album ends with an epic song in 4 parts. Ambition is the name of the song & first part, it is a sailing melody of strings and bass, then the drums kick in and the whole production turns funky. More Queen style vocals sing another theatrical, stomping song. A short prog section separated the next portion, 'Me & My Tarot.' This is a slower prog ballad. Brand X-ish funky synthesizers begin the third section 'Rev-On.' Foreigner-Metal guitars & drums are added, and the song morphs into a theatrical motorcycle crash eulogy. The section winds down, and The End is a showcase of vocals in an end-of-scene chant and hand sway-waves. As if we were in a time-bubble, the album ends with the same electronic time stamp, saying it is 3p precisely,

Stand Out Track:

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