Friday, November 29, 2013

Re-Flex - The Politics of Dancing

Hailing from the UK, Re-Flex was a four man new-wave synth-pop band. Their roster consisted of John Baxter (vocals), Paul Fishman (keyboards), Roland Vaughan Kerridge (drums) and Nigel Ross-Scott (bass). Their one album release was 1983’s The Politics of Dancing which is celebrating its thirtieth anniversary this month. The record charted at number 58 in Germany, number 53 on the US Billboard Album chart, and number 34 in New Zealand.

Side one begins with “Praying to the Beat”, an up-tempo groove about a guy who lives for dancing so much that he hears driving beats in all aspects of life. In my college years and early twenties, I could definitely relate to this sentiment. As a single, it hit number 95 in the UK and number 50 in New Zealand.

"Hit Line" talks about songs that are on the top of the charts and the desire to be played among them.

"Hurt" is about a guy who is cautious after having his heartbroken by his last lover. In the end, he decides that payback is the best revenge. As a single, it peaked at number 82 on the US Billboard Hot 100.

“Couldn’t Stand a Day” goes with a slower, more pop sound on this song about being totally befuddled by feelings of love. As a single, it stalled at number 97 in the UK.

The six and a half minute version of the title track is next. “The Politics of Dancing”, as a single, went to number 43 in the Netherlands, number 28 in the UK, number 25 in West Germany, number 24 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 19 in South Africa, number 12 in New Zealand, number 11 in Australia, and number 9 in Canada. This one reminds me a lot of floor parties back during my freshman year of college, when the song was climbing up the charts. With a bouncy beat and a positive message, it was a must-dance-to track.

Kicking off side two, "Something About You" has urgency to its beat, mirroring the anxious and obsessive aspect of the lyrics.

On "Pointless", a guy is frustrated with how his relationship is going yet he is not ready to give up on it yet. This one has an underlying rhythm on the verses that could easily be tweaked into a reggae vein.

"Jungle" puts an exotic spin on the drudgery of urban living.

With a slower tempo, "Sensitive" is a walk on egg shells, handling an emotional love with caution and care.

"Keep In Touch" closes out the album with a bouncy reminder about staying in touch via broadcasts even across a wide distance of separation.

Re-Flex was all about the party mix with The Politics of Dancing; the entire album is made to fuel dance floors in the wee hours of the morning. As I noted, I knew the title track back in the day but the rest of the album managed to elude my grasp. Seeing as I was all about going out to dance my weekends away in college, this one would have been a favorite of mine back then. After the initial vinyl release in 1983, it only had a limited CD release a decade later. The band's whole catalog, including their never-released follow-up album and a lot of other recordings, is now available for sale online thanks to the efforts of Fishman.

1 comment:

HERC said...

Definitely one of the more danceable synth-pop albums out there with a title track that is, well, hard to beat.

Glad to see they made their stuff available - did you order or download?