Wednesday, July 16, 2008

THE PHOTOS - Crystal Tips and Mighty Mice

The Photos were a British new wave band that has been described as Blondie-meets-the Buzzcocks, surviving long enough to release just one LP, a self-titled release in 1980. The album is an infectious lost gem, but before dissolving the group did manage record an even better follow-up cleverly and oddly titled Crystal Tips and Mighty Mice.

Up until now Crystal Tips has remained in the vaults, only to be heard by a select few new wave fanatics have who managed to track down mp3s ripped from a promo copy of the record. That's about to change thanks to London-based Cherry Red Records, which secured the rights to the album and has it slated for release on July 21. Hey, much better 25+ years late than never - especially for an album of this caliber.

Crystal Tips is full of masterful pop songs delivered with punk spirit. Singer Wendy Wu has an unmistakable voice that ensures you won't confuse the tunes with any other band's, and serves as an effective vehicle for getting across the slightly twisted themes found throughout the album.

Both opener My Life Story and the one song that was actually released from the collection way back when - Life in a Day, as a 7" single - are punchy numbers sung from the perspective of disenchanted souls plodding through everyday society. Luke Come Back is a catchy plea that sounds sort of like ABBA on steroids, while Kill That Girl is a dismal tale of deadly jealousy set to a bouncy tune. Quite possibly the star of the record is the stunning For Beauty's Sake, which features a truly dreamy melody and thoughtful lyrics.

According to Cherry Red, the album has been remastered from the original master tapes and will also boast a number of bonus tracks, including It's Always the English and Charlotte, two more tracks that were never released in any capacity. Here is the full track listing:

My Life Story / Life In A Day / Luke Come Back / Let's Pack Our Bags / Kill That Girl / The Final Scene / We Fight / Thinking Of His Girlfriend / Wish You Well / For Beauty's Sake / Time Of My Life / Bonus Tracks - More Than A Friend (B - Side Life In A Day ) / You Won't Get To Me (B - Side of We'll Win ) / It's Always The English (Unreleased, Recorded At Good Earth Studios For Muff Winwood) / We'll Win (A - Side S/T Single) / Charlotte (Unreleased, Recorded At Good Earth Studios For Muff Winwood) / Shy (B - Side Irene ) / Cridsilla (B - Side Irene , Double Single)

Click here to order the disc directly from Cherry Red or here to get your copy from Amazon UK.

For a taste, check out a vinyl-ripped mp3 of Life in a Day here, and look below for a clip of The Photos performing Do You Have Fun from their debut LP.


Multiplex said...

The first 'self titled' album was one of my favorite new wave albums of the time. This album is equally good - if not better.

My only disappointment is that it took so long for it to be released and - worst still - for me only just to realise it now!!!!

Frank said...

Hey Multiplex, thanks for the comment. Yes, CT&MM is quite possibly even a greater record, which is really saying something. It has an edge/darkness to it that wasn't quite as pronounced on the debut, and is just excellent. I'm glad it was finally unearthed. It's truly a lost new wave treasure.