Saturday, September 27, 2008

FROM THE VINYL RACK ... "I Can't Escape From You" by ACT

I bought this without hearing it. I knew Claudia Brucken from Propaganda, whose arty German take on electro-pop I always had a soft spot for, plus it was in the discount bin, plus there's that great sleeve (more of that later).

I Can't Escape From You is very 1988, especially in this 12" version. It's a epic, grandiose slice of synth-pop, complete with long piano intro ('an overture' no less), string section and drama provided by synths, synths and more synths, all topped off with Claudia in full diva mode (operatic rather than Maria Carey). It's camp, arty and great fun. For several months I played the A-side morning, noon and night but failed to win over further friends to its charms. As did Act as they split after only one album.

Curiously despite falling head over heels for the song, I never went on to buy the album it came from (now re-issued in triple CD format!?). This may be to do with the B-sides. I'm sure another reason for buying this was the idea of Claudia covering The Smiths. But it doesn't really work. It's a car-crash of piano balladry, swing and torch song with Claudia veering from deadpan to anguished squeal - often in the same breath. And the scat backing vocals from "Casbah" are just plain annoying. But you may think differently ...

When I dug this out of the vinyl rack, it struck me how perfect this sleeve would be for Sleeveface - I couldn't believe it hadn't been used before. So I approached Mrs A with this unbeatable idea that she should pose, I would take the photo and we would be the toast of the Sleeveface community. Mrs A did not think it such a great idea.

"What that wretched, depressed HAG? She looks as though she sells her body in sordid back streets in order to feed her drug habit. And you want me to be her??"
"But that's Claudia Brucken - she's a great chanteuse in the German tradition that stretches back to Marlene Dietrich and - ... "
"She looks like a desperate whore"
"She's a cult figure, a proper diva, loads of people will - ..."
"She's just a sad crack whore"
"But when you hear the song it will all make sense ..."

That'll be "no" then.

Laughter, Tears and Rage [BUY]

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