Wednesday, January 14, 2009


by fandorin

I'm highly interested in the production side of music. Recording tricks? Fifty-seven ways to record a bass drum? Channeling guitar signals? Give it to me!! There are some albums with awesome songs and lousy/dated/production. Then there are some brilliantly produced albums, with each microphone more expensive than my monthly rent, not having anything to offer musically. Sometimes it all comes together. And sometimes there are albums being produced in a certain style that doesn't suit the music. Production misfits. Like Beavis and Butthead at that audience with the pope. It just doesnt fit. Now, there were some brilliant albums produced by Nick Launay, like, say, Kate Bush's The Dreaming consisting of so many weird and strange sounds your average producer won't have dreamt of - but his take on Seance wasn't exactly the work of a genius, was it? Anyone ever listened to the first Springsteen album? Rock songs produced as folk songs. The first Genesis album? Pretty good adolescent folk ballads with a mystic touch, overproduced and ruined by Jonathan King; imagine Joe Boyd's take on this.

Fräulein, "Bob Clearmountain's favourite Church song" - i always loved it because of its german title. Yes, there have to be döts. The song might sound totally untypical - but maybe only if your first impression is like mine and you first meet it after having devoured Starfish, Gold Afternoon Fix and Priest=Aura. There were many doors open for Kilbey the songwriter, and I almost get the impression he wanted to explore what could be done, balladey AOR stuff with a gloomy twist (Don't open the door), yearning jangle (Tear it all away), little prog epics, new wavey singles... I used to consider Of Skins and Heart just "the power-poppy debut album", but the more I think about it, the more i'm surprised by the stylistic openness.

Fräulein is another compound in the compound eye - straight hard rock with a darker power pop twist. It may sound strange, but there were a lot of real hard rockers among those first dozen of songs, just if you didnt know they made something like Priest=Aura or Sometime Anywhere later... BUT You don't really hear it, because they were produced as new wavey stuff, slightly robotic and thumping instead of energetic. Just like Life Speeds Up, it all sounds a little stiff. Just for a small mind travel - imagine Fräulein played by Iron Maiden. Can you imagine? It would sound, and natural, won't it?

They never opened the Fräulein door again, you might think. But - really, didn't they?

Tantalized has some pretty obvious arena rock features, but you rather get the impression of something elegantly rushing along because Peter Walsh avoided all stereotypes of hard rock, choosing a wonderful (!) brass arrangement, a droning hammond organ and didn't really distort the guitars. Now imagine Metallica or Queensryche playing it - add some breaks, power chords, pump up the drum sound, let James Hetfield snare the lyrics through clenched teeth - structurally, you won't have to change anything in the song, maybe add a blinding Kirk Hammett guitar solo...again, the main difference is in the production. There seemed to be categories - "it's that moptop band from Australia, no, we don't call Mutt Lange..." A lot of the stylistic ambiguity might result from the record company's firm conviction The Church was a new wave band, no matter how deeply Kilbey was rooted in the 1970es...

Still a good fun song, and a hoot on bootlegs!!

1 comment:

Leïlah said...

Yes, there have to be döts ;)