Friday, February 18, 2011


Not sure why the song 'Changeling' came into my head while I was on nappy duty but it did. It got me thinking about the power of early 80's Simple Minds, the clinical majesty of their original unfettered vision and I felt compelled to commit my thoughts to pen and paper (virtual pen and paper).

The album 'Reel to Reel Cacophony' was one of the first I ever owned. I bought it on cassette whilst on a caravanning holiday with a former school friend in Bridlington. Given that by this point Scotland's finest had already released 'Once Upon a Time' starting with their second album might come across as ambitious. Given Jim Kerr's haircut on the back of the prior album 'Life in a Day' it could even be considered brave and or bold.

Unfortunately it was none of the above. It was however £3.49 from Woolworths, a whole pound cheaper than any of their later albums. This might seem paltry but back in the heady days of 1985 and aged 11 a crisp and green pound note was a fuck lot of money, a veritable kings ransom.

Anyway, I bought it, played it in the caravan and came away a bit non-plussed. This wasn't the Simple Minds of Top of the Pops, It certainly wasn't the band I had been hyping the fuck out of to my friend. At one point during playback I decided it must be faulty, but no. Over the following weeks I found myself revisiting the album drawing a similar conclusion each time - I should have ponied up the extra quid and bought 'Sparkle in the Rain'. I kept playing it though because at that stage in my music based habit, owning circa ten albums and about the same amount of pre-recorded cassettes every inch of music counted.

Eventually, thanks to the arrival of newer predominantly 'metal', specifically Kiss records I could afford to give up on it. In time I forgot about the album, or at least I thought I had.

I re-bought it for a couple of Euros in Germany a few years back and put it on to see how it faired. 'Reel to Reel Cacophony' came before the critically re-assessed period of the groups history, it's prior to 'I Travel' and 'Theme For Great Cities', no electronic anthems or obvious Hoxton floor fillers here. Anyway, needle goes on record and fuck me if I didn't remember almost every word, every single change and beat. I still have no idea what any of the songs are about but that 'Reel to Reel Cacophony's' content has spent the last 25 plus years sat in my head waiting to be called into action is no mean feat. And just when I think it's over, that I'm done with that mysterious album with it's plain blue textured sleeve it pops up again without warning.

Beyond being a reminder of days gone by, of a cramped caravanning holiday, a friend who turned out to be an utter dick and his mum who I think I wanted to fuck, this is a killer album. Well not killer, that's the wrong word. It is however solidly built, unusual, well balanced and totally under-rated.

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