Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Kid Creole & the Coconuts - Doppelganger

Following their 1982 album Tropical Gangsters (click here for that review), Kid Creole and the Coconuts returned to the studio to work on their fourth record. The result was 1983’s Doppelganger which is celebrating its thirtieth anniversary this month. It charted at number 54 in Germany, number 46 in the Netherlands, number 44 in New Zealand, number 21 in the UK and number 13 in Sweden.

Side one launches with lively, up-tempo “The Lifeboat Party”. As the second single, it went to number 49 in both the Netherlands and the UK.

“Underachiever” is a bouncy, observational piece as one guy realizes his once motivated and industrial friend has become a sleep-around, laze-about.

“If You Wanna Be Happy”, a song inspired by “Ugly Woman” by the Calypso band Roaring Lion, was first released by Jimmy Soul in 1963. The Coconuts cover sticks pretty tight to the original source material with little improvisation.

“Distractions” changes things up a little by letting the ladies of the band (Adriana Kaegi, Carol Colman and Cheryl Poirier) carry all of the vocals.

I like the spicy Latin rhythms of “Survivors”.

“Call Me the Entertainer” is propelled along by a very funky bass groove.

Side two starts with the tropical boogie “There’s Something Wrong in the Paradise”. As the first single, this song about a country under siege went to number 35 in the UK and number 29 in Ireland.

“It’s a Wonderful Life”, with lead vocals by Coati Mundi (Andy Hernandez), is an optimistic look at what you have versus what you have not.

“Bongo Eddie’s Lament” spotlights the percussion talents of the band’s own ‘Bongo’ Eddie Folk.

“Broadway Rhythm” is big and bold, mixing a variety of music styles with a booming backbeat.

Things chill out a bit with the slower tempo of “Back in the Field Again”, a song about getting back out into the dating world.

“The Seven Year Itch”, which closes out the record, is a song Kid Creole (August Darnell) first recorded as part of Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band in 1979.

Whenever I listen to something new (to me) by Kid Creole and the Coconuts, I know I am in for a fun explosion of sound and styles. 1983‘s Doppelganger definitely delivers on that front. What I like about their early 80’s records is that they were focusing on more traditional instruments when many were experimenting heavily in the electronic, synthesized sounds. That really helps them stand apart from the pack.

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