Album Reviews

Various – Dreams Come True: Jon Savage Presents Classic First Wave Electro 1982-1987

(Domino) UK release date: 20 October 2008

It’s been a good year for the 1980s. OK, that’s a bit of a head scratcher, but this has been a period of longing glances over the shoulder to a period when electro was a spanking new thing as far as clubbing was concerned. Dreams Come True looks to catch its essence.

These first fruits pre-date the full on launch of house music and occupy the five years leading up to the so-called Summer Of Love. Frustratingly there’s only eleven to sample, Jon Savage choosing some well sequenced tracks but opting against having them mixed, in the style of the 12″ compilations that have done so well the last few years.

This proves something of a flaw, for though there’s some good stuff here, the top and tail bits of each track can often amount to three minutes of filler, the listener’s ear longing for a new track to come into the mix and for the old one to leave.

That’s not the case with Yazoo, however – whichever way you look at it Situation makes a cracking start, and things hardly break stride with Larry Levan‘s mix of Class Action‘s Weekend, one of those tracks where you can play spot the influence. Both are excellent examples of the 1980’s dancefloor at its very best, so it’s a minor letdown when Debbie Deb‘s When I Hear The Music comes too close to Papa Don’t Preach. That is, until the facts are checked and you realise it was written two years earlier than Madonna‘s hit.

Elsewhere big drums are the order of the day, with cavernous projection in The Latin Rascals‘ Lisa’s Coming, an ’80s cliche fest in its use of dodgy rap and layered vocals, but hugely enjoyable all the same. Pamela Joy‘s Think Fast is groovy, while Klein & MBO‘s Dirty Talk is perhaps the most forward looking thing here. That can’t be said of Janice‘s Bye Bye, with its clumsy yet amusing approximations of themes from the Addams Family and the Flintstones.

A qualified success, then, and an entertaining one – but if it had been mixed the sense of flow and potential for an even greater snapshot of an era would have been greatly improved

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