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Friday, January 8, 2010

Altered Images - Pinky Blue

Name: Altered Images
Album: Pinky Blue
Year: 1982
Style: New Wave
Similar Bands: Nena, New Order, Missing Persons, Siouxie & The Banshees
"One Word" Review: Pixy-Wave
Based Out Of: Scotland
Label: Portrait, CBS
Pinky Blue - Cover & Tape

Pinky Blue (1982)
  1. Pinky Blue 3:06
  2. See Those Eyes 5:46
  3. Forgotten 2:40
  4. Little Brown Head 2:42
  5. See You Later 3:21
  6. Song Sung Blue 4:17
  7. Funny Funny Me 3:25
  8. Think That It Might 2:53
  9. I Could be Happy 5:40
  10. Jump Jump Jump 3:13
  11. Goodnight and I Wish 4:10
Album Rating: 9.0

Members & Other Bands:
Clare Grogan - Vox (Universal Love School, MOVIE: Gregory's Girl, TV: Red Dwarf, East Enders)
Tony McDaid - Guitars
Tich Andeson - Drums
Johnny McElhone - Bass (Hipsway, Texas)
Jim Mckinven Guitars
Martain Rushnet - Producer

Unknown-ness: I had never heard of these guys, but I immediately liked the huge bold pink letters across the front, set on black, and the picture of the band was a big help and insight that this was definiely a quirky new wave act.

Album Review: “Pinky Blue” begins with watery jangely guitar that echoes like much of the “college radio” music from the time period possessed. The cutesy erratic female vocals bring to mind a pixy (Bjorkish, but not long & drawn out) or very young girl. But there is a lot of character in the voice, and it is quite captivating. The music is a looping array of hooks and repetitive chords played together. It reminds me of the little I know of Missing Persons.
“See Those Eyes” has another catchy repetitive hook in the beginning. Without the little pause between songs, this song could just be a continuation of Pinky Blue. They sound so similar, that it feels like it is just a slight variation of second verse of the first song. At any second, the first lyrics could be overlaid here. It carries with it a bit of a dark edge though; I get a slight similarity of New Order style composition buried just below the surface. Especially in the long drawn out instrumental break, with it’s skipping remix drum loop and a New Order stylized bass line.
“Forgotten” now feels like a remix of the previous song. In order, these songs are like one stream of consciousness based on one repeating childish melody. They are all good, just slight variations on each other.
“Little Brown Head” breaks up the continuum, with a different vocal approach and a different sound for the guitar, which lost some of its watery echo effect. However, the song still maintains a continuous attack: it begins driving and never lets up. There is no tempo changes in any of these songs: no down time. It is like these recordings have picked up mid-song, as if they are all sections of a longer single track.
“See You Later” is upbeat and happily expectant, as the title might suggest. It has a sly sexiness to it, as it awaits the next time its heroine will see her lover with recent happy memories to hang on to. It features more of the watery jangley guitars as made famous by 4-AD bands like Lush and Belly.
“Song Sung Blue” is a marching, drinking song. The melody is accented by the jagged, exaggerated vocals. But the whistles and one-note-at-a-time melody reminds me of “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad.” Some of the vocal acrobats that the singer performs are very interesting, and it feels like a style that No Doubt used early on in their career.

“Funny Funny Me” starts side two with a difference. Right away, the song is broken up and staggered in its melody. It heavily involves a woodwind (recorder?) taking center stage. The song offers multiple variations on the base melody, which is a sung as a bunch of syllables in repetition. This reminds me of Architecture in Helsinki with its wacky, bare bones melody texture.
“Think That It Might” slows the tempo down with jangley guitars and an anthemic presentation of the vocals, which follow their own melody, rather than relying on the guitars and bass. The song is more mystical with vocal echoing effects and sparkling synth bells in the background.
“I Could be Happy” starts out with a simple drum machine loop, a driving one-note bass line and synth elements. Even the guitar is cut and pieced together electronically, making the track sound like a remix that New Order might have pieced together. This song makes me want to listen to Tiffany’s version of “I Think We’re Alone Now”. With the exception of the soaring U2 type guitar. About 3 minutes in, the vocals are mixed in, elegant and subdued when compared to the rest of the album, but they are just another piece of the song, and are not used to promote the melody for too long.
“Jump Jump Jump” feels like we’re just revisiting variations on a theme. Nothing new is offered here at the outset. A rollicking melody, echoing guitars and the same vocals flowing over the melody. For the first time on the album, toward the end of the song, I got a sample of vocals that remind me of an elfin version of Karen O from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Perhaps that is a good comparison, too.
“Goodnight and I Wish” is a lullabye of sorts. It is quiet and it stuggles to get moving, but it slinks along, dragging its foot. The vocals repeat quite a bit, but it is for the benefit of the song that they do. It is a pleasant song, and a satisfying way to wind down the record. It, more than any other song, reminds me of the genre of music put out from the 4-ad label.

Stand Out Track: Pinky Blue

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