Thursday, August 09, 2007

The Attractions - Mad About The Wrong Boy

Following in the tradition of Crazy Horse and The Rumour, Elvis Costello's supporting band The Attractions (Steve Nieve, Pete Thomas and Bruce Thomas) released a "solo" album, Mad About The Wrong Boy in 1980.

The album suffers somewhat from back-loading, that is, a greater proportion of the album's good songs fall on side two. Side one of the record, a few decent songs aside, sounds like a fairly clichéd and even annoying new wave record. Steve Nieve's keyboards often sound too busy, and the vocoder is sometimes employed to cover up for the expected lack of a distinctive vocalist. Songs like "Little Misunderstanding," "Damage," and "Motorworld" sound very much like failed genre exercises, and don't date particularly well.

"La-La-La-La-La Love You" starts off side two on a much more enjoyable note: rather than forced sounding new wave with too many trendy sound effects, side two sticks to the pub-rock model of Rockpile or Nick Lowe. It's a shame they didn't stick more closely to this formula for the entire album, because the group is obviously much better working within this style; "Sad About Girls," "Single Girl," "Lonesome Little Town," "Taste of Poison," "Talk About Me" and "Camera Camera" (get it?) are all enjoyable new wave flavored pub rock.

So while we may not have been mad about the wrong boy, The Attractions did manage to make one half of a good record without their boss. Elvis Costello thought highly enough of "Sad About Girls" to make a go of recording it for Trust, but in the end opted not to share songwriting duties with anyone else. Costello's version can be heard on the Rhino and Rykodisc editions of Trust and on the Out Of Our Idiot compilation (and no doubt some future deluxe reissue from UMG).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review. I appreciate any additional information I can find about this album.