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Album review

Bucks Fizz 

Writing on the Wall

added: 21 Apr 2012 // release date: 16 Apr 2012 // label: Universal
reviewer: Paul Chapinal

Bucks Fizz - Writing on the Wall - Printable version
There can be any number of reasons for re-releases: anniversaries – 40th is very popular at the moment – a re-appraisal of an overlooked classic, new material for hardcore fans, or, frankly, cynical money for old rope releases from a struggling industry that appears to be ever more dependent on moneyed music buyers in their late 40s onwards. This Buck Fizz release could arguably fall into any of those categories.

This fifth - and final – album released in 1986 was concentrated on bringing their sound up to speed with the music of the time. So we have chrome-platted, over the top production, lots of slap bass a la Level 42, but a paucity of good songs; or songs that set them apart from the drivel that cluttered up the charts in the 80's. In a sense, they sold out. The band themselves are in pretty good form and the performances are solid but subtleties are clobbered by the production.

There’s plenty of extra material here and those who bought the original album may find this CD’s tracklisting confusing. In an attempt to flog more albums when it was first released each format (CD, Vinyl and cassette) had a slightly different track list. Oh for a return of those innocent days of the 80’s! There are extended tracks, single edits, 12” remixes, some dreadful live material, and even a couple of Bobby Gee compositions. The candid sleeve notes are welcome and is good background to what was going at the time.

This isn’t a lost classic, it’s an album by a band trying to catch up, found wanting and losing their identity. This album failed miserably when it was first released, and has been pretty much forgotten until now. Whatever the reason for this release, it does tie up the loose threads and while it may sell a few copies to hardcore fans it will very soon return to obscurity.


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2 stars

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