For around two years in the mid '80s, it was the Thompson Twins' world and the rest of...
Daryl Easlea 2008-03-07
For around two years in the mid '80s, it was the Thompson Twins' world and the rest of us merely inhabited it. Their star was such that they could muster both legends old (Nile Rodgers) and new (Madonna) to play with them at the American leg of Live Aid, such was their pulling power. It almost takes a minute to process that information. The Thompson Twins were enormous. And it was this album, originally released in 1983 that made them so. The album before, Set, caught them just at the cusp of going from being a somewhat preposterous, egalitarian, everyone-on-stage-banging-a-drum sort of brown rice munching right ons, to being a post-Talking Heads ensemble of monstrously funky proportions. They had a monster track, In The Name Of Love, which lead the album. It became something of a US underground hit, and paved the way for the squeaky, machine-fuelled funk of Quick Step and Side Kick, recorded in Nassau, with the masterful touch of then Habanero-hot Alex Sadkin. He even brought his friend, Grace Jones along to sing the mock-opera on Watching.
What do we hear today? A lot of production techniques fizzing around what I’m sure were originally dainty little songs. Love On Your Side is as snippy as ever. Any sensible critique of We Are Dectective surely cannot happen, although it does underline quite how important Abba had been as it now sounds akin to a rewrite of the Swedes' Head Over Heels. By far and away the best tracks are Kamikaze and If You Were Here which allow the ditties to be actually heard.
A tribute to the days when SuperFerro tape was the future and instrumental versions were had phrases such as 'no talkin'' after the title in parenthesis, Quick Step And Side Kick is not without charm. This reissue is beautifully packaged, rammed with memorabilia and carries phrases you never thought you'd hear again such as ''it all adds up to 130 minutes of the Thompson Twins'', which, quite frankly is 115 longer than most people's needs.