1993, Beat Goes On (UK), BGOCD188 * 2012, Cherry Red Records (UK), CMRED-521COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: LINEUP:
Fee Waybill - vocals * Bill Spooner - guitar, vocals * Roger Steen - guitar, vocals * Michael Cotten - synthesizer * Vince Welnick - keyboards * Rick Anderson - bass * Prairie Prince - drumsTRACK LISTING:
01 Piece By Piece * 02 Stella * 03 Come As You Are * 04 One Good Reason * 05 Bora Bora 2000/Love Bomb * 06 Night People * 07 Say Hey * 08 Eyes * 09 Muscle Girls * 10 Theme From A Wooly Place * 11 For A Song * 12 Say Hey Pt 2 * 13 Feel It * 14 Night People (Reprise)WEBLINKS: www.thetubes.com
The Tubes circa 1985 were probably on the cusp of winking out; only they didn't quite know it. After a couple of quite sensational albums with 'The Completion Backward Principle' and 'Outside Inside', the band reconvened for their last 80's album 'Love Bomb'. Todd Rundgren
was back for a second stint with the band after 1979's 'Remote Control', though the results here don't hold a flame to the candle like that previous album. Still, I'm a bit of a sucker for The Tubes' music at any point along their timeline, even with 'Love Bomb'. Where online critics like All Music Guide might throw bricks at this album (their team of reviewers are hopeless aren't they?), I on the other hand see more light and goodness on these tracks than some of those AMG idiots do, but then I'm highly biased!
'Love Bomb' is a variable of sound, not surprising with Mr Rundgren at the helm. There are a brace of shorter musical pieces onboard, so although there are 14 songs, the album whizzes by before you know it. 'Piece By Piece' kicks off, and we're given a reminder of those 2 aforementioned albums. It's a strong made-for-radio rocker and appeals greatly to me. 'Stella' is trademark Tubes material, and is also tending to the commercial side rather than the strange and bizzaro! The Tubes stitch in a ballad with 'Come As You Are' proving the band can operate just as effectively in low gear. Nice. 'One Good Reason' is most definitely AOR and it's good to see this song here. The keyboard parps and pumping bass lines makes this my favourite song on the album. 'Bora Bora 2000/Love Bomb' most certainly has the dab hand of Rundgren involved. His Utopian influences there for all to see. 'Night People' is all the over the place musically, but it kinda works.. just. It segues into the equally unusual 'Say Hey', but we all know weird and wonderful is all part and parcel of The Tubes sound. The vocal minuettes and sound effects are off the charts. 'Eyes' is a return to something mainstream, but still contains traces of 'off-the-wall'. We then chart our way through a pair of short pieces 'Muscles Girls' and 'Theme From A Wooly Place', which can be considered 'novelty value' more than anything. Normal tranmission resumes on 'For A Song', a mid-tempo affair which retraces their commercial material heard on the first 4 songs at least. 'Say Hey' is reprised for a brief 30 second stint, which jumps straight into the Toto
like 'Feel It', the album closing out with a 1 minute reprise of 'Night People'.
Without doubt, 'Love Bomb' is an album of two halves. A handful of excellent commercial tracks coupled with short musical interludes that are strange but interesting. By the following year, Capitol had dropped The Tubes from their roster, and Waybill and co were left without a home. The band however would return in 1993, and released a couple of albums during the late 90's. The band are still a going concern in the current day which is great news still, their last studio was some time ago, but they did release a compilation of bits and bobs on their 2009 CD 'Mondo Birthmark'. 'Love Bomb' has recently seen a new reissue from UK label Cherry Red; it's an expanded edition, so for the mildly curious among you, it is readily available for purchase.
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