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Pop/Rock - Released December 18, 2020 | London Music Stream

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When Dave Wakeling and Ranking Roger split from the rest of the English Beat to form General Public, Andy Cox and Dave Steele originally advertised on MTV for a new lead singer for the Beat. When that didn't pan out (although it did work for Wall of Voodoo), Cox and Steele hooked up with the unique and soulful singer Roland Gift and formed the Fine Young Cannibals. Though the trio first hit the mass U.S. consciousness with 1989's electronic dance-pop The Raw and the Cooked, their 1985 debut was a soul-jazz pop charmer that's more low key but every bit as entertaining. Along the lines of early Everything But the Girl (the two groups share a producer, Robin Millar) with a heavier Motown influence, the songs on Fine Young Cannibals are uniformly strong. The singles "Johnny Come Home" (a plea to a runaway that sounds like the Beat's ska stripped down to its tense and obsessive essentials) and "Blue" (one of the more oblique and successful anti-Margaret Thatcher tracks of its era) are terrific, but album tracks like the casually devastating "Funny How Love Is" and the manic "Like a Stranger" (which incongruously ends with a female chorus shrieking "You've been too long in an institution!" repeatedly while Gift tries out his Otis Redding impression) are even better. The album's highlight, though, is a reworking of "Suspicious Minds" (with scarifying backing vocals by Jimmy Somerville) that, while it doesn't replace Elvis' version, certainly takes the song into an interesting new direction. Although often overlooked, especially in the U.S., in the wake of their massively successful follow-up, Fine Young Cannibals is a powerful and satisfying debut. The U.S. CD adds two extended remixes of "Johnny Come Home" and "Suspicious Minds." © Stewart Mason /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 1, 1988 | London Music Stream

One of the most exciting albums released during a decade of artifice and extravagance, in a mere ten songs and 35 minutes the Fine Young Cannibals created a masterpiece. Admittedly the trio had some help -- backing singers, guest musicians (including former Squeeze piano man Jools Holland and Talking Head's Jerry Harrison) -- but that doesn't take away the band's own accomplishment. Remaining true to the FYC's vision of tying past and present musical styles together into artful new pop packages, The Raw & the Cooked features a shopping list of genres. Mod, funk, Motown, British beat, R&B, punk, rock, and even disco are embedded within the songs, while the rhythms, many synthetically created, are equally diverse. In less delicate hands this would be nothing more than an everything including the kitchen sink motley mess, but FYC manage this mix with subtly and elan. Two-thirds of the record were released as U.K. singles, all were hits, and each one proudly boasted a distinctly different blend of styles. "Good Thing," for example, was the trio's tribute to the legendary all-night Northern soul parties of the '60s, but is much more than a mere meld of mod and Motown. It's actually built round a slinky R&B riff, fueled by a boogie-woogie piano, and slammed home with a cracking beat. "I'm Not the Man I Used to Be" is a torrid torch song, but fired by a futuristic jungle beat and an almost housey production. Then, of course, there's "She Drives Me Crazy," which features the most unique, and instantly identifiable, beat/riff combination of the decade. Even the four tracks that didn't make the singles cut could have, if MCA had the audacity to keep releasing them. "Tell Me What" perfectly re-creates the Tamla sound, with only the synth giving it a modern touch, but on the rest, FYC delve deeper into funk, disco, soul, and lovingly coax them into the modern era. Every one of Raw's tracks simmers with creativity, as the hooks, sharp melodies, and irrepressible beats are caressed by nuanced arrangements and sparkling production. Never has music's past, present, and future been more exceptionally combined. © Jo-Ann Greene /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 1, 1985 | London Music Stream

When Dave Wakeling and Ranking Roger split from the rest of the English Beat to form General Public, Andy Cox and Dave Steele originally advertised on MTV for a new lead singer for the Beat. When that didn't pan out (although it did work for Wall of Voodoo), Cox and Steele hooked up with the unique and soulful singer Roland Gift and formed the Fine Young Cannibals. Though the trio first hit the mass U.S. consciousness with 1989's electronic dance-pop The Raw and the Cooked, their 1985 debut was a soul-jazz pop charmer that's more low key but every bit as entertaining. Along the lines of early Everything But the Girl (the two groups share a producer, Robin Millar) with a heavier Motown influence, the songs on Fine Young Cannibals are uniformly strong. The singles "Johnny Come Home" (a plea to a runaway that sounds like the Beat's ska stripped down to its tense and obsessive essentials) and "Blue" (one of the more oblique and successful anti-Margaret Thatcher tracks of its era) are terrific, but album tracks like the casually devastating "Funny How Love Is" and the manic "Like a Stranger" (which incongruously ends with a female chorus shrieking "You've been too long in an institution!" repeatedly while Gift tries out his Otis Redding impression) are even better. The album's highlight, though, is a reworking of "Suspicious Minds" (with scarifying backing vocals by Jimmy Somerville) that, while it doesn't replace Elvis' version, certainly takes the song into an interesting new direction. Although often overlooked, especially in the U.S., in the wake of their massively successful follow-up, Fine Young Cannibals is a powerful and satisfying debut. The U.S. CD adds two extended remixes of "Johnny Come Home" and "Suspicious Minds." © Stewart Mason /TiVo
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Pop - Released February 1, 1989 | London Music Stream

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Note: tracks 13, 15 and 18 are not available in 24-bit, you should download the album through your Qobuz application for PC / Mac.  In the midst of Eighties synths there arises an atypical soul voice. At the head of the Fine Young Cannibals, Roland Gift is a crooner with a nasal but fascinating falsetto. Backed by two former members of the excellent Birmingham ska band The Beat (guitarist Andy Cox and bassist David Steele), this artist, who also made his debut in a ska band (Akrylykz), offers a kind of hybrid soul of silky pop, smooth jazz and elegant rock. 31 years after its release, The Raw & the Cooked, their second and no-less-classy album resurfaces in remastered form in 24bit Hi-Res augmented by B-sides, demos and remixes. Hard not to think of Prince as soon as the catchy She Drives Me Crazy opens the record, especially since this single was recorded at Paisley Park, the studio of the funkster of Minneapolis, and one of his acolytes, David Z, is on production. Tight and effective rock 'n' soul groove can be found on most other tracks. As with the self-titled debut album that Fine Young Cannibals had released four years earlier and reissued at the same time in impressive jackets, the very 80's rhythm – elastic drums and plastic drum box – is sometimes a bit outdated but never undermines the coherence of the record and the strength of the writing. The minimalist hip hop beat of I'm Not the Man I Used to Be shows that the trio also knows how to break the mould and even confound their fans’ expectations, as on the surprising cover of the punk anthem Ever Fallen In Love by Buzzcocks re-done here for the dancefloor. To rediscover, urgently. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Pop - Released December 18, 2020 | London Music Stream

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When Dave Wakeling and Ranking Roger split from the rest of the English Beat to form General Public, Andy Cox and Dave Steele originally advertised on MTV for a new lead singer for the Beat. When that didn't pan out (although it did work for Wall of Voodoo), Cox and Steele hooked up with the unique and soulful singer Roland Gift and formed the Fine Young Cannibals. Though the trio first hit the mass U.S. consciousness with 1989's electronic dance-pop The Raw and the Cooked, their 1985 debut was a soul-jazz pop charmer that's more low key but every bit as entertaining. Along the lines of early Everything But the Girl (the two groups share a producer, Robin Millar) with a heavier Motown influence, the songs on Fine Young Cannibals are uniformly strong. The singles "Johnny Come Home" (a plea to a runaway that sounds like the Beat's ska stripped down to its tense and obsessive essentials) and "Blue" (one of the more oblique and successful anti-Margaret Thatcher tracks of its era) are terrific, but album tracks like the casually devastating "Funny How Love Is" and the manic "Like a Stranger" (which incongruously ends with a female chorus shrieking "You've been too long in an institution!" repeatedly while Gift tries out his Otis Redding impression) are even better. The album's highlight, though, is a reworking of "Suspicious Minds" (with scarifying backing vocals by Jimmy Somerville) that, while it doesn't replace Elvis' version, certainly takes the song into an interesting new direction. Although often overlooked, especially in the U.S., in the wake of their massively successful follow-up, Fine Young Cannibals is a powerful and satisfying debut. The U.S. CD adds two extended remixes of "Johnny Come Home" and "Suspicious Minds." © Stewart Mason /TiVo
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Dance - Released November 1, 2009 | Media Records