In the tense up and down world of The Teardrop Explodes, between line-up changes, direction arguments, drugs and bouts of ego mania, the band made two worthy albums, Kilimanjaro (1980) and Wilder (1981).
Credited with re-invigorating Psychedelia in the early eighties they always sounded more Beat group to me than as Psychedelic as people say. The inclusion of brass on singles such as Reward, their biggest hit reaching No.6 on the UK chart might have brought them closer to R&B than anybody realised. Guitarist Alan Gill and keyboardist David Balfe had both been in Thingwall’s Radio Blank and R&B was in their repertoire – Gill co-wrote Reward. Balfe and Gill had left Radio Blank for the more experimental Dalek, I Love You before finding themselves in The Teardrop Explodes together during the recording of Kilimanjaro. Balfe recruited Gill in the wake of guitarist Mick Finkler’s sacking halfway through recording sessions at Rockfield studios in Wales.
Note the pic has Balfe, Cope, Gary Dwyer (drums) and Gill. In the video, Balfe and Gill are absent, Cope and Dwyer are joined by Troy Tate. Tate replaced Gill before leaving to join Fashion and produce the early Smiths tracks. Two solo albums were released by Sire – Ticket to The Dark (1984) and Liberty (1985).
Go here for a brief walk around Thingwall and The Wirral in an earlier post about the area and bands that came from there – the place that I grew up as a teenager.
The video does what a lot of videos did in those days – that is having people moving urgently around from place to place, building to building for no apparent reason, popping their heads into camera shot to mime a verse. One of those miming in this video is Les Pattinson, ex Echo And The Bunnymen bassist – on trumpet! Bass line on the song sounds like him but the sleeve notes don’t credit him.
And then there’s the trumpets? Legendary Producer engineer Hurricane Smith (Pink Floyd) is credited with trumpet (along with Ray Martinez) on three album tracks – but not this one. So…I guess it’s Balfe’s synth despite Pattinson and his mate’s convincing miming !
So, here we have another song with unlikely brass used to maximum effect, even if it’s fake!
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