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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Sad Cafe - Misplaced Ideals* Facades~

Name: Sad Cafe
Album(s): Misplaced Ideals* Facades~
Year(s): 1978* 1979~
Style: AOR, Prog, Jazzy Rock, Pub Rock
Similar Bands: Rockets, Mick Jagger, 10cc, Styx, J Geils Band, ELO
"One-Word" Review: Jazzy Depressed Fantasy* 
Based Out Of: Manchester, England
Label: A&M Records, RCA Limited
 Misplaced Ideals* - Cover & Record
Misplaced Ideals* - Back & Record
Facades~ - Cover & Record/Sleve
Facades~ - Back & Record/Sleeve
Misplaced Ideals (1978)*
  1. Restless 4:37
  2. Here Come Those Clowns 4:01
  3. Run Home Girl 4:57
  4. Black Rose 4:37
  5. I Believe (Love Will Survive) 4:34 /
  6. Babylon 3:41
  7. Shellshock 3:15
  8. Hungry Eyes 5:28
  9. Feel Like Dying 4:09
  10. On With the Show 5:14
Facades (1979)~
  1. Take Me to the Future 4:05
  2. Nothing Left to Lose 4:34
  3. Everyday 4:09
  4. Strange Little Girl 5:06
  5. Crazy Oyster 4:30 /
  6. Emptiness 3:33
  7. Time is Do Hard to Find 3:30
  8. Angel 3:42
  9. Get Me Outta Here 3:53
  10. My Oh My 4:43
Album Rating (1-10): *6.0

Members & Other Bands:
Paul Young - Vox & Percussion*~ (Toggery Five, Gyro, Mandalaband, Mike and the Mechanics, Squeeze, Mike Read)
Ian Wilson - Rhythm Guitar, Vocals, Percussion *~(Gyro, Mandalaband, Bunk Dogger, Boss Brothers, Ramones, Steve Warley, Alarm, Loz Netto, Jon Astley, Johnny Hallyday, The Law, Barclay James Harvest, Flutadors, Alestrom, Common Tongue, Debbie Harry, )
Tony Cresswell - Drums, Percussion* (Mandalaband)
John Stimpson - Bass, Acoustic Guitar, Vox*~ (Mandalaband)
Vic Emerson - Keyboards~, Piano, String Arrangement*~ (Sylvie Vartan, Mandalaband, Tim Hart, Heebeeheebees, Steve Warley, Gilbert O'Sullivan, 10cc, John Wetton, Phil Manzanera, Was (Not Was), Lio, Zazie, Pascal Obispo, Emma Shapplin, Tono Balliardo, Sofia Mestari, Fabien Martin, Magna Carta)
Ashley Mulford - Lead Guitar, Vocals*~ (Mandalaband, Mike and the Mechanics, Tim Hart, Michael Learns to Rock, Chilliwack)
Dave Hassel - Kabasa, Bell Tree*
Dave Irving - drums, vocals~ (Supercharge, Loz Netto, Cam'ron)
Lenni Zaksen- Saxophone, Vocals*~ (Alan Parsons Project, Gonzalez)
Eric Stewart - Producer, Engineer, Mixing~ (10cc, Paul McCartney)
Katherine Ann Walter - Photo Treatment*
Lou Beach - Photo Treatment*
Chuck Beeson - Design*
Dorene Chanter - Vox*
Irene Chanter - Vox* (Allmusic Credits)
Lisa Strike - Vox*
Mark Hanauer - Cover*
John Punter - Engineer, Percussion, Producer* (Bryan Ferry)
Nigel Walker - Asst Engineer*
Jon Walls - Asst. Engineer*
Roland Young - Art Direction*
Bernie Grundman - Mastering~
Harvey B Lisberg - Management*~
Dave Kershenbaum - Special Thanks*~
Joe McSorely - Special Thanks~
Mark Smith - Special Thanks~
Hipgnosis - Photos*~

Unknownness: I had never heard of this band before picking up these albums up at a thrift store. Basing judgement on the cover art and the name, I expect this to be general 70's rock / pub rock, perhaps with a bit of shady noir. Many bands of the era incorporated a back alley bluesiness, and I expect a little of that, too.

Album Review: So this band is still active, under the guidance of Ian Wilson, even if it is just a cover band of their once selves. A couple of the members went on to join the more populat Mike & The Mechanics, the singer who did, Paul Young, passed away unexpectedly in 2000 (not the same Paul Young as London Dilemma). They topped out in the UK at #3 with Every Day Hurts, titled Everday on Facades (their 3rd of 7 albums).

“Restless” struts from the start, with a skipping drum beat, and segmented guitar parts. The chorus is harmonized, and I can tell that the vocals are patterned after Mick Jagger. There is a breakdown, with chimes and jazzy percussion, and is fronted with a sax solo. Power chords bring the song back to rocking territory, but the instrumental seems like it will go on forever. The song recycles, and the skip-beat tempo returns.
“Here Come Those Clowns” changes tempo, and feels like a Dexy’s Midnight Runners or Black 47 track thanks to the horns creating a Celtic sound. The J Geil’s band bouncy piano and angry vocals give the songs a pub rock feel, with a little bit of a The Who feel as well. It has a very nice groove, and the seemingly opposite styles merge together very well.
“Run Home Girl” was a US single. It starts with a smooth jazz intro, and reminds me of a lighter version of Foreigner’s Urgent once it hits the disco pop chorus: perhaps if ELO covered Urgent. The instrumental breakdown is full of spacey synth keys, further contributing to the smooth AM radio ELO feel. The song returns to its roots with a smooth jazz fade out.
“Black Rose” continues with the spacey synth to make a brief power pop intro, which flattens out to a soft elevator pop melody. By the chorus, a chorus of vocals make a very Prog case for the song. Until the next subdued part, the song soars in an aggressive prog rock orchestra.
“I Believe (Love Will Survive)” is a slow jam. It’s not quite a ballad, as it has some marching forth tempo, and some “White Snake” crooning, not to mention a weeping metal guitar breakdown. But Bee Gees harmonies and crystal sweeps make up the verse. It is a rock song trying to find its elegant footing in a disco land.

“Babylon” opens with prog rock harmonizing guitars. The funky, shuffle tempo of the verse collides with the precedented guitar harmonies when it reaches the chorus. This song is a mix of funk and prog, which is a fine line, itself. And here the vocals are again trying to channel the energy and fluidity of Jagger’s vocals.  
“Shellshock” is a jazzy, bluesy tune, featuring back alley keyboards and drafty streetlamp gusts. The vocals try even harder to capture Jagger’s soulful, poetic delivery.
“Hungry Eyes” is not the Dirty Dancing song, but is a soft acoustic ballad fading up. Once it reaches adequate volume, we are again taken to the forlorn side streets and depressed, dark city blocks. Bitter, angry vocals offer up the energy for the chorus. The singer’s sentiment seems real when he breaks the preset format to offer his feelings. The piano twinkles out to end the track.
“Feel Like Dying” picks right up with a depressed, somber light story-song. A female chorus backs the singer up when he prematurely hits the song title. The feeling is real, but it makes for a tedious track, filled with gospel efforts, but feet dragging obstinacy, which perhaps is the gist of the song.
“On With the Show” ends the album with the same bluesy swagger, but in a little more upbeat melody. Like a life story, the singer has gone through the steps of life, and has decided to just keep going, even if it hurts.

“Take Me to the Future” starts off with that same bluesy, pub rock guitar, but is underplayed with some futuristic synth effects. The vocals start much looser, and jittery (sometimes just spoken) than anything on the first album, giving this a more playful and care free vibe. The vocals share similarities with both Jagger and Peter Wolf (of J Geils), and the chorus is a harmonized prog segment. It has more powerpop guitars than before, too. The chaotic ending, and blending of vocals and chuckling oh-oh-oh’s ends in a spaceship lifting off.
“Nothing Left to Lose” wakes up from the dream/nightmare of the first track with haunting, new age synth. The notes dial up, and I half expected Madonna’s Like A Prayer to begin. Acoustic guitar kicks in, and the singer is out of bed and with careless swagger, explores his surroundings. The song is about the aftermath feelings from a love lost. The tone, like the conceptual mood, crests and falls. The violin fades the song out as it skips off down the street.
“Everyday” was a UK single, reaching #3. It has life breathed in to it as solemn, understanding vocals. The bouncy keyboards flow with orchestral support and rushed, bouncy vocals to parallel. The piano driven verse reminds me of Elton John. It sounds like a nice radio friendly song, but nothing I would have gleamed onto.
“Strange Little Girl” was another single from the album. And it begins with a county fair like music box fading in. Then a skip beat tempo (think Billie Jean) and bass line create a fun, but dark soundscape. The guitar’s power hook mixed with the futuristic synth are both catchy and accent the build into the verse. The chorus is lighter and mystical, but features some fun new wave harmonies, akin to the Cars. After two verse-chorus sections, a metal guitar solo is fed in over the steady beat.
“Crazy Oyster” begins without missing a beat from the previous song. It continues with the Bee Gees style harmonies that are barely there. It is a driving song, with poppy call out “Ohs!” The off-beat organ puffs keep the song unsteady and interesting in a reggae style.

“Emptiness” starts side two with the 80’s-style smooth jazzy sax. The lyrics don’t line up exactly with the melody, but it is only briefly. The song has a bit of a Mellencamp-Americana feel to it, mixed in with off beat jazz and a stalking march. The vocals become more aggressive in the second verse, but between these song title, you can feel a pattern of trying to fill a hole in the singer’s soul.
“Time is So Hard to Find” fades in as a funky groove that again dabbles in Prog. The song builds very well in the instrumental, until the lead guitar is given range to yowl, and the song picks itself up from underneath the guitar. There is a little Talking Heads funkiness in this song too.  
“Angel” continues instantly, but calms down on the 80’s synth, and features steady power pop and acoustic guitars instead. Finally, the protagonist in these songs has found a love. And although the euphoria is reserved, and rightfully so, since he is saying that she’d be his angel, you can sense the positive vibes from the song.
“Get Me Outta Here” is a drunken pub rock track. The stagger and synth honky tonk funk give this a full on southern rock, with a little “Jagger singing a Billy Joel” song feel.
“My Oh My” was a single from the album. It twinkles in with piano, and the building blocks for a power pop song. The vocals are reserved and knowledgeable. You can feel the song building, until it kicks into a rollicking pub rock piano ditty. After the burst, it calms back down to the travelling wanderer verse. The let-loose vocals are supported with a brief chorus of female vocals, and the song sways and treks along into a fade, even as the vocals stay strong.

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