Album Review
by SashaS

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John Foxx's 'Crash and Burn' long-player
John Foxx & Louis Gordon: 'Crash and Burn'
Slipped Disc #6: John Foxx & Louis Gordon

If you happened to catch the December tour by Human League and, hopefully arrived early enough to see a set by John Foxx. If you are old enough to dig the Sheffield electro poppers, then we assume you’d be acquainted with the work of this synth-pioneer. For those who can’t remember pre-Take That time, here is an abridged introduction to the co-creator of ‘Crash And Burn’ (UK’s June release was followed by the international one in September).

John Foxx (born Dennis Leigh) formed Ultravox! on the ashes of Tiger Lily (one single, a bizarre cover of Fats Waller’s ‘Ain’t Misbehavin’’, in 1975) with Chris Cross, Steve Shears, Billy Currie and Warren Cann who quickly secured a contract and had the eponymous debut album produced by Brian Eno. Unfortunately the artsy avant-pop with punked-up Roxy Music-isms were appreciated live but failed to turn into sales.

Two more albums followed - ‘Ha! Ha! Ha!’ (1977) and Conny Plank produced ‘Systems Of Romance’ (‘78) - before Foxx opted for a solo career. Almost instantly he scored a Top 40 hit with ‘Metamatix’ while Ultravox fronted by (James) Midge Ure, the former member of Slik, The Rich Kids, Thin Lizzy and Visage, had to wait another six months to score its first hit and rfurther four to hit the pay-dirt with ‘Vienna’.

Foxx’s latest solo album, ‘Crash And Burn’ is recorded with Mancunian electronic brainbox Louis Gordon and it is an edgier, more passionate record than Foxx’s previous album, 2001’s ‘The Pleasures Of Electricity’ which concentrated on achieving a sense of rare intimacy in search of the prettiest aesthetics. This time we have songs that are as diverse as the equipment used to realize this beauty.

‘Crash And Burn’ finds Foxx and Gordon dreaming up fresh twists on electro-pop (Giorgio Moroder-fashioned kind) with the disco-illuminated ‘Sidewalking’ and ‘Ultraviolet/Infared’. There is a minimalist ‘Cinema’, ‘Broken Furniature’ is a pumping dancer that meanders into darker realms, eerily majestic is ‘Once In A While‘… Easy-to-spot reference points are everyone’s favourite Krautrockers, Kraftwerk, on the tough-sounding ‘She Robot’ and all-round cuddly ‘alien’, David Bowie, on ‘Dust And Light’…

The title track is an analogue-fuelled industrial rocker while the album opens with one of Foxx’s career bests, ‘Drive’, a pounding techno-pop track with an odd-sounding vocal that gets you erect involuntarily. As well as ‘Sex Video’, it should have the crowds spitting hormones in electro clubs. There are also few slower moments, electro-ballad like the closing ‘Smoke’ and the aforementioned ‘… A While’.

Tomorrow man is still at it and thus better for us.


John Foxx & Louis Gordon’s album 'Crash And Burn' is available now on Metamatic/Fullfill