Monday 19 November 2012

Chad Valley - Young Hunger

Album review by KevW

As someone who spent most of the 1980s at primary school, whilst also being obsessed by the chart music of the day, I can happily say "I was there" and I remember it first hand. Entering my teens to the sounds of grunge, shoegaze and then Britpop, we were all led to believe that much of this horrible manufactured 80s pop that was made by people who looked like bank managers (especially ABC, what the hell was that look all about?) was a dark chapter in the history of music and was best forgotten (of course with some exceptions, and I'm not including the burgeoning indie and post-punk scenes in this). The reason we were led to believe this is simple: it actually was a dark chapter in the history of music.

Recent years have seen this view reevaluated and the sounds revisited, often to a much higher standard than the originals. Oxford scenester Chad Valley is taking electro-pop from this era and recreating it very faithfully, which makes it difficult to judge. The era may not quite have been as bad as we used to think, but a lot of it was, and a lot of what was sounds like much of 'Young Hunger'. The appetite (or should that be hunger?) for such sounds has been at a high recently, and Chad Valley should have little difficulty capitalising on that. 'Young Hunger' is a recreation that's of the quality of a Madame Tussauds waxwork, therefore those who remember those times fondly, or those who were too young to miss out first time around will embrace this album.

For the rest of us, reaction is likely to be mixed. The songs have merit, they're well written and well made, but the memories they bring up might be a turn off for certain people. As such it's difficult for me, personally, to judge this objectively. The album contains a song called 'Tell All Your Friends', something Chad Valley has taken literally. We get guest spots from acclaimed modern pop heroes Glasser, Twin Shadow, Jack Goldstein, El Perro Del Mar, Anne Lise Frokedal, Totally Extict Dinosaurs and Active Child. An impressive cast list, no question. If these lot can all see what the fuss is about then there's a good chance you will too. However, if you weren't a fan of 80s synth-pop in its original incarnation, this faithful copy might be best avoided.

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