Tuesday, February 9, 2016

WATERMELON MEN-Wildflowers (1986)


There's the Australian funk/pop troupe that called itself THE ROCKMELONS.....and then there's the Swedish rock troupe that called itself WATERMELON MEN. I love to do feature presentations on those bands that it seems the rest of the music world may have forgotten about over time. I myself haven't been hip to these guys for very long, but the wonderful thing about being an 80's music lover—;and just being adventurous in my music-listening altogether—is that I often get the chance to become newly acquainted with something that ends up becoming the latest jewel to add to my overflowing treasure chest of music gems. I'm so glad that I took forty-five minutes of my time to tune in to the band's 1986 album, "Wildflowers", because it really was like inhaling a breath of fresh air—not just because it had been a while since I've treated my ears to something of the slightly-punkish indie, new wave variety, but because the production off the songs itself is such a delight, spearheaded by the distinctively charismatic, soulful voice of the band's lead singer. From the lively opener, "Empty Smile", on to "Heading For The Woods", then to "Pouring Rain", I was simply marveling along with the music, getting the sense that I had indeed discovered another goodie and a real keeper. But it's when I got to the gripping gem, "I Know The Sun Won't Shine", when this album really started to come to life for me. A spiritual, soul-searching piece this one is, and I like how the sad tonalities of the organ and the blaring saxophone, plus the steady thump of the ethnic drum beat, further reinforcing the songwriter's dark mood. It's when this song's tempo steps up in the second arrangement past the midway point where it all comes together, the soaring vocals and the lively funk turning it into a festive music celebration of sorts. If I hadn't noticed how powerful the lead guy's vocals were on the first four offerings, then I surely noticed it good and well on the follow-up, "Pictures Of Gootimes". There's a slightly breezy, island feel to this one that warms me up beneath the rock and the smooth groove, even more warming than the words of 'welcome back, just like we've never been apart' that are sung in the main chorus. I must confess that "True Confession Of Love" is a total jam, the touch of retro in the production giving it a bit of that classy, pre-80's shimmer. The album's second sad song is presented beautifully as well: "That's Why I Walk These Streets Alone". Loved it the moment I took in the somber melody; loved it even more when the great rock production kicked in. Then there's the one that makes me smile called "Postcard View". I like the idea behind the title, the woman being a picture perfect, constant reminder of the love or, as the songwriter puts it, 'like a dream that never ends'. Though I was doing more than just smiling tuning in to "In Another World", whose dreamy ambiance does indeed make me eel like drifting off to another place, and "Small Town Revolution" which, despite boasting some of the most heart-broken words from this album—'once I was happy with you, now I'm happy with somebody else', as one of the lines from the main hook goes—made me happy with its dancey rhythm and the accompanying harmonica. Watermelons and wildflowers—you'll get plenty of savory sweetness that exotic pair; plenty more of it when your ears harvest the delicious songs on this album:

1. Empty Smile
2. Heading For The Woods
3. Pouring Rain
4. I Know The Sun Won't Shine
5. Pictures Of Goodtimes
6. True Confession Of Love
7. That's Why I Walk These Streets Alone
8. Postcard View
9. In Another World
10. Small Town Revolution
11. Days Of Confusion

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