Thursday, October 19, 2017

KATRINA & THE WAVES-Shock Horror! (1983)


Shocked to see this one? Well I myself was 'shocked' to find it! It's occurred to me that, up until today, my ears and I hadn't heard any of the albums by the British rock band, KATRINA & THE WAVES, before their breakout memorable hit, "Walking On Sunshine". In fact, I haven't heard much of KATRINA & THE WAVES at all. So here I am close to the end of 2017 digging up one of their earliest efforts back when they were professionally known to the world only as THE WAVES (sounds a bit weird, considering I've gotten so used to calling them KATRINA & THE WAVES). "Shock Horror!" is definitely something for the fans of Brit rock.....and 80's music suckers like me. And me listening to it today came at just the right time, as I've found myself suddenly getting into the nostalgic 80's mood again. The opening track, "Going Down To Liverpool", is one that I had read about many times as being one of the band's earliest hits without ever having actually listened to it—a short-and-sweet pop/rock tune that serves as an early indicator of the quick adventure that is to come. Something sparked me on the follow-up, "Strolling On Air"; there's a certain striking appeal about it—between Katrina's vocals and the slightly psychedelic/Beatles-esque rhythm to it before the rest of the music arrangement kicks in after the second pass of the chorus. "Riding My Bike" is a prime example of how these songs with the simple lyrics turn out to be really good once it's had time to grow on you. I was captured by the melody and the slow, mellow arrangement first, then the extended guitar instrumentals, which are absolutely great! Seems Katrina and the crew were experimenting with a bit of blues rock on "I Caught The Milk Train", another one where the lyrics, while totally and senselessly 80's, tell a fun and simple story. After that, this "Shock Horror!" adventure becomes a high-speed rockin' thrill ride! Begins with "Brown Eyed Son", which I like because of its super-catchy chorus that goes ' you're my jealous brown-eyed son, I know everything you've done '. I also like punkish new wave jams like "You Can't Stand Next To Judie", which has some of the funniest lyrics (I like the part where she says Judie crumbles like ginger bread) and the best drum beats on this album! Then there's the breakneck, head-banging tempo of "Atomic Rock 'N' Roll" (yeah, it's atomic all right; the music just might set you on fire!) and the energetic rush that is the concluding cut, "Saturday Week", which I ended up listening to three times because it's barely over two minutes long but trumps "You Can't Stand Next To Judie" as having the best lyrics of all (cats, Frankenstein, driving with the President and something about driving on a TV as well are just a few things she mentions). In less than thirty minutes, my "Shock Horror!" thrill ride is over, but it was nice to reconnect with a forgotten band after all this time:

1. Going Down To Liverpool
2. Strolling On Air
3. Riding My Bike
4. I Caught The Milk Train
5. Brown Eyed Son
6. You Can't Stand Next To Judie
7. Atomic Rock 'N' Roll
8. Saturday Week

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