Friday, July 4, 2014

Kay Franzes-Midnight Fascination (1987)


A bit of 'midnight fascination' to satisfy my current Italo-disco fascination! A random selection from the massive world of 80's Italo-disco was a guy named Kay Franzes, and as far as I can tell, this 1987 album of his was the only thing he released as a solo artist. It took me some minutes to get used to Kay's rough, straining vocals while tuning in to the upbeat opener, "Twilight Generation", but the ice would eventually become melted as the catchy jams would keep on pouring through my ears. There's been a lot of fire burning around me these past few days—from a musical standpoint, that is—what with THE POINTER SISTERS 'just burning while doing the Neutron Dance', fellow Italo-disco singer Michael Fortunati's blazin' album "Fire", and now Kay's "Burning Desire", which I love because of the spirited main chorus and those lofty, angelic vocals of the woman in the background. It's just the simplicity of the romantic lyrics and the light synthpop beat itself that made "Take Me And You'll Win" so easy to get into—classic 80's pop music there. Something else I've noticed lately in my music listening is that songs with the word 'black' in them sound really great! Track #6's "Black Gipsy Lady" is no exception, having gotten attached to the melody the instant the song commended. So that forever instrumental music lover in me surely was a factor there, and it was a huge factor on the instrumental piece, "Le Commissaire", which makes me think about those soundtracks featured in any one of those early 80's action films. And I could go further and say that my love for instrumental music is what got me hooked to what became my #2 favorite, "Come Back To Me". The album's only ballad happens to be Kay's strongest performance overall, putting that rough, straining voice of his to excellent usage, which contrasts beautifully against the woman singing alongside him all throughout. Almost haunting, this one is, when you take in the ghostly chanting vocals and the suspenseful melody. Reminds me of "The Dead Girls", an early hit with similar ghostly moods by the British new wave act, ORCHESTRAL MANOEUVRES IN THE DARK (I love completely spelling out their quirky name). But there's nothing dead about Kay's burning desire for love to return all throughout the lyrics. The spirited main chorus (this album has a ton of them, actually!) on "I Work The Weekend" and the driving rock guitar accompaniment captured me right away, and I like hearing that woman make those humorously sexy moans about midway through. So if "Come Back To Me" was my #2 favorite, what was my #1? That would be "Away... Isla Del Sol", which I predicted would have something Spanish going on with it because of the title. It's still marvelously dancey Italo-disco, but with a nice touch of lovely Spanish guitar, a graceful sea of romantically vocal tenderness (I especially love how Kay sounds in the jazzed-up main chorus) and splashes of Spanish lyrics sprinkled here and there. An Italo-Latin fiesta—I like that!

1. Twilight Generation
2. Burning Desire
3. Shadow In The Night
4. Body And Soul
5. Take Me And You'll Win
6. Black Gipsy Lady
7. Hot Street Lover
8. Le Commissaire
9. Come Back To Me
10. I Don't Wanna Steel Your Heart
11. I Work The Weekend
12. Away... Isla Del Sol
13. I Can Do
14. Midnight Fascination

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