Saturday, May 31, 2014

the Boomtown Rats - In the Long Grass

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of In the Long Grass, the sixth and final studio album from the Boomtown Rats. It spent four weeks on the US Billboard Album chart, peaking at number 188. It also charted at number 80 in Canada.

The UK listing and the US listing differed in order on side one as well as content. For this review, I will be looking at the 1984 US release of the record.

Side one opens with "A Hold of Me", a song full of resolve and determination. Released as the final single, it went to number 78 in the UK.

The second single "Drag Me Down" went to number 50 in the UK. I recall the chorus hook (the "dee-dee-dee-deee" refrain) of this one, most likely from the song playing on the rock radio stations back in 1984.

"Rain" appeared on the US vinyl release of the album.

"Over Again" (a re-titled "Over and Over" from the UK release) is next. The song has a bridge that reminds me of Spanish conquistadors.

"Another Sad Story" opens with a strong horn arrangement. The vocal harmonies on the chorus mirror that of the horns.

Side two starts with "Tonight"; as the first single it peaked at number 73 in the UK. The rhythm has a confident and deadly swagger to it that makes the track standout.

"Hard Times" has a strong dance beat which reminds me a little bit of David Bowie's "Let's Dance".

"Lucky" winds in on a Bond-esque opening riff.

The title "An Icicle in the Sun" makes me think of something final, inevitable as I picture melting droplets falling. The song, however, is nothing like that. It is up-tempo, energetic and funky. It was also the B-side to the second single.

"Up or Down" closes the vinyl release on a frantic note. The song's quirkiness is worthy of Devo.

The later CD release (which is up on Spotify) included additional tracks including "Dave" (which appeared on the UK vinyl release instead of "Rain"), a demo of "She's Not the Best", and two non-album track B-sides "Precious Time" and "Walking Down Town".

While I might have heard a track here and there, back in the day, from In the Long Grass, this review was my first full listen to the album. The Boomtown Rats certainly went out on a strong note. I liked what I heard and would definitely revisit it again.

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