Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Slade - The Amazing Kamikaze Syndrome

Today (December 3rd) marks the thirtieth anniversary of The Amazing Kamikaze Syndrome, the tenth studio album from the British rock group Slade. The record was released in North America in early 1984 under the title Keep Your Hands Off My Power Supply and with a shuffled track order. Together, the record charted at number 50 in Australia, number 49 in the UK, number 39 in New Zealand, number 33 on the US Billboard Album chart, number 26 in Canada, number 9 in Denmark and Germany, number 5 in Switzerland, number 2 in Norway and number 1 in Sweden.

The band’s line-up consisted of Noddy Holder (lead vocals and guitar), Dave Hill (guitar and backing vocals), Jim Lea (bass, keyboards, guitar, violin and backing vocals) and Don Powell (drums and percussion).

Side one starts with “Slam the Hammer Down”; as a US only promotional single it stalled at number 92 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in 1984. The lyrics use racing terminology as a sexual metaphor, while the music drives it all home with a pounding fury.

“In the Doghouse” talks about running around as a youth and getting into a mess of trouble. Andy Dummit provides the saxophone on this track, harkening it back a bit to early days of rock ‘n’ roll.

“Run Runaway”, the third single, hit the charts in early 1984. It charted at number 21 in New Zealand, number 20 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 19 in Germany, number 17 in Australia, number 8 in Ireland, number 7 in Norway and the UK, and number 4 in Sweden. It opens with a thundering drum solo. Combining a Celtic jig with hard driving rock, this was easily my favorite track ever from the band. I love to crank it up as it always puts me in a great mood, reminding me of my early college days.

“High and Dry” was first performed by the all female rock band Girlschool on their 1983 album Play Dirty, which was produced by Holder and Lea. Part of the opening riff reminds me a little bit of the Kinks’ “Destroyer” from 1981.

The hit ballad “My Oh My” is next. It was released as a single a month prior to the album release, and it charted at number 65 in Australia, number 37 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 31 in Canada, number 25 in New Zealand, number 8 in the Netherlands, number 5 in Austria, number 3 in Germany and Ireland, number 2 in Switzerland and the UK, and number 1 in Norway and Sweden. It opens with a lovely piano by Lea and Holder’s heartfelt vocals; the rest of the band comes in on the second verse.

“Cocky Rock Boys (Rule O.K.)” closes out the first half with a quick-step rhythm. This was the band’s tribute track to their fans.

Side two begins with the epic “Ready to Explode”. Clocking in at eight and a half minutes, the track is a multi-part musical suite centered on motor racing. The parts consist of “the Warm Up”, “the Grid”, “the Race” and “the Dream”. Hill has stated that it was inspired on the work of Jim Steinman with Meat Loaf on Bat Out of Hell, an album Hill was very much into at the time. Lea takes the lead vocal on this one.

“(And Now the Waltz) C’est la Vie” was actually released as a single in November of 1982 where it peaked at number 50. Of course, this song about a relationship ending affair features a standard waltz sway to it.

“Cheap ‘n’ Nasty Luv” displays the unglamorous side of prostitution.

“Razzle Dazzle Man” opens with a fast paced jam and then changes gear midway to an acoustic ballad.

I was a huge fan of the two hit singles here in the US, so I was looking forward to listening to all of The Amazing Kamikaze Syndrome for this review. Needless to say, Slade did not disappoint me with the rest of the album. It is a hard rocking record from start to finish, and one I have earmarked for a download very soon.

1 comment:

HERC said...

Try and get the 2007 UK version on the Salvo label- it has six bonus tracks, including 12" versions of both "My Oh My" and "Run Runaway".

For several weeks in 1984, "Run Runaway" was my car stereo demonstration song. It sounded so good on my girlfriend's Alpine system in her Firebird.