Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Style Council - Introducing the Style Council

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of Introducing the Style Council, the EP that…well…introduced us to the English band the Style Council. The group was made up of Paul Weller - formerly of the Jam, Mick Talbot - formerly of Dexys Midnight Runners, Steve White and Tracie Young. Weller wrote six of the seven songs on this debut.

This EP was only released in Australia, New Zealand (where it rose to number 6 on the charts), North America, the Netherlands and Japan. In Europe, it was distributed mostly as an import.

Side one opens with the seven minute version of “Long Hot Summer”. As the third single it went to number 41 in Canada, number 28 in Australia, number 12 in New Zealand and number 3 in the UK. From the vocal harmonies to the light percussion to the synth swing, this one has a very cool vibe with a nod to classic 60’s R&B that makes it a perfect song for those long hot and lonely nights.

“Headstart for Happiness” opens with a simple guitar and finger-snap accompaniment to the vocals. Talbot’s keyboards are laid in sparingly, giving the heartfelt ballad just the right accent.

“Speak Like a Child” was the first single released; it charted at number 29 in Australia and number 4 in the UK. This one is full of upbeat enthusiasm and joy.

Side two begins with the club mix “Long Hot Summer”. This one slows things down a bit focuses more on stripped down versions of the instrumental portions of the song.

The romantic longing that is “The Paris Match” was released as the B-side to the second single.

Talbot penned “Mick’s Up”, a rollicking keyboard-centric instrumental track. I like how it is arranged as a live recording before an intimate audience.

“Money-Go-Round parts 1 & 2”, which closes out the record, was released as the second single and went to number 11 in the UK. The combined track, which clocks in at just shy of eight minutes, has a funky bass groove and steady dance beats. This one is easily my favorite track in this collection.

Introducing the Style Council is a pure pop album full of great melodies and soulful sentiments. This is definitely an album I would have totally gotten into had I heard back in 1983. But, with all good music, it is never too late to discover something - even thirty years later.

For my review of their 1984 album Café Bleu, click here.

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