Though it the period of my very fondly remembered first love, who dumped me after some wonderful years, I recall, with the unforgettable line: "You can't keep me in the way I've become accustomed to being kept!"; and though it was the period that led me out of the drudgery of the butcher's shop and countless dead-end jobs and into a more liberating and creative world, the Eighties are far from being my favourite period musically, and certainly not fashion
It would be the odd indie track from back then I might listen to today, or some avant-garde classical. Which was about all I did listen to in the latter half of that decade.So I was surprised to find that this record was originally released in that vulgar and musically frivolous period: the one of bright coloured suits with power-shoulders, billowing cravats, permed and pouffy hairdos, buccaneer wear, neon headbands and legwarmers, and everyone clutching a cocktail in one hand, a Filofax in the other, whilst pretending to step off Simon Le Bon's yacht!
My favoured periods for nostalgia purposes, and for retro-music, are the Sixties and Seventies; periods I lived through, both as a child, and, later, as an occasionally deliquent teenager (er...appologies to all concerned!).
This album wasn't exactly mainstream and was largely rejected at the time, so that gives me some comfort for having bought it, as does my feeling that it is more the boogie-funk Seventies sounding elements of the music that led me to it, and, of course, the Africa connection.
I like a lot of music from the two decades I mentioned because it retains an element of rawness and character about it that is often killed by producers today. Thankfully, Shadow and his musicians are doing the bulk of the work on Sweet Sweet Dreams, not the technology.That said, I've never been a huge fan of automated claps, or of most of the other keyboard sounds on disco, though here I find it passess in an inoffensive jolly way, and that's probably another reason I gravitated towards it.
Shadow's voice has an endearingly frail, fragile quality to it, similar to that of Murphy Williams on the recently re-released, She Is My Woman, which is a charming album itself, though it does have a somewhat dubious image on the cover of Williams staring out, with a rather furtive and posessive look, from between a Yucca plant and a woman who may just be the lucky one in question! (Let me know what you think!).
This is a fun album for a hot night with balloons, dancing around the BBQ, I'd say. And for the vinyl loving fetishist, there's also the bonus of the very cool poster of the man himself. nicholas hamnett