Thursday, 25 August 2011

A Moody Blue Cad And A Red Jeff Lynne

There seems to be a glut of bands from the USA and Canada featured on this blog with enviable facial hair. Outside the United States you have to look to the Middle East for comparably moustache-centric nations. Indeed, some of the skirmishes during the Gulf War must have resembled particularly bloody disagreements at a Freddie Mercury fan convention. Sure, the British did face fuzz back in the 1970s, but often in a restrained, university lecturer style: more a case of failing to shave than consciously and creatively fashioning a chin or lip coiffure. Of course, there were some notable exceptions: the awe-inspiring sideburns clinging to the fizzogs of Slade's Noddy Holder and Trevor Bolder in his Spiders From Mars days have few serious rivals and the magnificent Moody Blues have done much to champion the Victorian cad and bounder 'look'. Mike Pinder in particular looks as if he was born to wear a Royal Hussars jacket and make inappropriate comments to your sister about the turn of her ankle beneath her crinoline dress.

Bodice Rippers

 I am delighted to have found a record in my collection by a band from the former East Germany whose cover seems to suggest that the lure of the lip duvet managed to penetrate the Iron Curtain.

Short-lived Zappa/Lynne Supergroup

 Not only is one member of Puhdys sporting a Barnet and nose-doormat combination that surely infringes Jeff Lynne's copyright, but he is doing so back in 1979 when Jeff's white 'fro look was at its zenith. They had to buy their Levis on the black market and had no choice but to eat boiled cabbage and potatoes at every meal, but, somehow or other, the East Germans were hip to the styles being sported by all the cool English kids back in '79.

10 Wilde Jahre (10 Crazy Years) contains one superb track, Ikarus II, which sounds like Hank Marvin jamming with a Space-Prog Boogie band. The remainder of the LP is unadulterated rubbish having more than a whiff of the bierkeller about it. Despite the absence of a brass band, there is something a tad 'oompah' about the rest of the tracks, as if the musicians are unable to free themselves from the malignant influence of the traditional German music that seeped into their collective subconscious in their formative years. It's comparable to an English guy going to a rave and finding that despite his best efforts he can't dance without waving a handkerchief and jingling a set of ankle bells because he was exposed to morris men as a child. I'm sure there are men with heroic mullets, bum-fluff moustaches and stone-wash jeans who, when they're not listening to David Hasselhoff CDs, get off on this 'oompah' rock, but it does nothing for me. Ikarus II on the other hand...

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