Thursday, February 11, 2016

COMBONATION-Combonation (1984)

ORIGINAL POSTING DATE: February 11, 2016

80's music and rock music is always a winning combination.....and has been a winning combination every time I've tuned into something lately that possesses the best of both of those worlds. So it only seemed fitting that I would listen in on a new wave band I'd never hear of before up until about a few days ago: COMBONATION. This Los Angeles-based band didn't seem to stick around for too long, as they only have this 1984 self-titled debut album to show. But it's a fun 30+ minutes where just about every song's got a catchy hook or some cool beat to keep your ears stuck to the music. Was reminded of such memorable 80's groups as THE FIXX, DEVO and OINGO BOINGO taking in the opener, "Babble On". Funny it should have this title, as I have lots to 'babble' on about it. The dancey rock beat, for starters, and before long, the constant looping of the lead guy shouting 'babble on!' in the man chorus and the eerie, oddball melody of the backup vocalists going 'ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh' become too catchy to ignore. Definitely the reason why I had to play it twice! At times, I even forgot that there were actually other lyrics to this song. "Girls Like You" is one that totally captures the 80's new wave a slightly punkish sort of way. Besides that, I always like these that tell the candid stories about some girl. Seems lately, all of the good love songs with the nicest, most warming sounds are the ones with the saddest lyrics. The latest in that line-up is Track #3's "It's All Over Sue"; you'd think it was such a delight from the way it starts had you not known the name of the song. And it's one of the best jams on this album, much of that new wave sound hiding in the background and switching over to more of a mainstream pop arrangement. For that very same reason, I got all kicks out of listening to "A Place In Your Life". The spirited 80's rock vibe really comes to life here, accented by the super-catchy hook where the question 'can you find me a place in your life?' serves as the song's primary theme. Yet the highlight for me on this latest 80's adventure of mine came with Track #7's curiously titled "We's Gwyne Hollywood". At first, I just thought this was the songwriter's wacky way with words for saying 'he's gone to Hollywood', but now I'm not so sure about that. Either way, it's my favorite of the nine tracks, and it's the chilled, reggae-inspired rhythm playing side by side with the lofty, reggae vocals that is the winning combination on this one:

1. Babble On
2. Adventures In Modern Living
3. It's All Over Sue
4. Hazardous Conditions
5. A Place In Your Life
6. Girls Like You
7. We's Gwyne Hollywood
8. No More Information
9. In Another World

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