Sunday, January 27, 2008

BRAM TCHAIKOVSKY - Strange Man, Changed Man

The things you can find on the discount rack...

Last week I made a truly great discovery as I searched through stacks of records on the clearance shelf at a half-price book and music shop. Amidst the legions of Barry Manilow, Barbra Streisand and crappy prog rock LPs I noticed the above artwork. "Bram Tchaikovsky"? Hmmm...I recognized the name, but couldn't place it. I knew I must have seen it on some power pop compilation, and at 50 cents, how could I go wrong?

When I got home and digitized the LP, I realized it was quite possibly the best 50 cents I ever spent. Strange Man, Changed Man, released in 1979, is filled to the brim with highly enjoyable, balls-to-the-wall power pop.

The album kicks off with the 1-2-3 punch of the title track, Lonely Dancer and Robber, all of which are hook-heavy and incredibly high-energy. Then there's the melodic top 40 single, Girl of My Dreams, with it's clever (and slightly creepy, come to think of it) lyrics about pining after a girl in a magazine. Sarah Smiles, a 60s-infused tune with a really catchy chorus, is another highlight. Turn on the Light provides a proper rave-up ending.

Bram Tchaikovsky hailed from the UK, and was originally part of pub-rock band The Motors. After he left, Strange Man, Changed Man was the first album he released with his own, self-named band. They followed it up with two others - The Russians are Coming in 1980 and Funland in 1981 - neither of which I have yet heard. Head over to the excellent Power Pop Criminals blog for more on those.

Good news - in December 2007 Hip-O-Select released Strange Man, Changed Man on CD. There is no bonus material, but it is still a must-have for any fan of power pop. You can purchase it on at this link.

- Bram Tchaikovsky - Guitar, bass and lead vocals
- Micky Broadbent - Bass, guitar, keyboard and vocals
- Keith Boyce - Drums and percussion


The Motors, Eddie and the Hot Rods, Pezband, Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello, Squeeze, The Rumour, The Records

- Bram Tchaikovsky on All Music Guide
- Bram Tchaikovsky on Wikipedia
- Bram Tchaikovsky on Trouser Press

1 comment:

beyesn said...

Not a "girl in a magazine,' but an actual mail-order doll (inflatable or otherwise).