Thursday, 18 September 2008

Bobby Conn - The Golden Age

I came across The Golden Age (and indeed Bobby Conn) by accident. Or rather I got a recommendation email from Amazon on the basis of a past purchase (the first Strokes album). Always keen to hear new music (but either too busy/lazy to read any music magazines or websites) I figured on the basis of the Amazon write-up that it was worth a punt:

"Obsessed with the sounds of the decadent end-days of 70s radio, Bobby Conn creates his own schizoid musical world on The Golden Age, a pick and mix of the styles that dominated the period, with the occasional Prince-style falsetto thrown in for good measure. As a result, at times this sounds like a dirtier, more ambitious version of Beck's Midnite Vultures."

On first listen I quickly decided that I needed to check Amazon's returns policy at the soonest opportunity. For example, the intro to opener 'A Taste Of Luxury' contains some questionable bum notes. The intro to 'You've Come A Long Way' is also virtually unlistenable (a friend once had a tape of this album in his clock radio and when the alarm went off mid-way through that intro he couldn't get up soon enough).

But there was enough in there to lure me back. 'You've Come A Long Way' is a class example of a rock song in several parts (think Meat Loaf if you must - and as the Amazon review states, it's the 70s that Bobby yearns for). Yes, the intro's horrendous, but get past that and the song builds and drops in fantastic style and is a definite highlight on the album.

There are moments of lo-fi Prince (the marvellous 'Winners' is a prime example) and 'Angels' - the story of a teenage pool-party; 'You've Come A Long Way' touches on similar ground and one can only assume that Bobby's teenage years are his lyrical source) - throws in some funky moments too, but there is also some full-on RAWK influence to be found (parts of 'You've Come A Long Way' and 'Pumper' in particular).

In a major volte-face I now find myself in possession of Bobby Conn's full back catalogue. It's hit & miss (particularly the early albums) but there's always something in there that draws you in ...

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