The Face – Pleasure Review
GIRLS AT OUR BEST!
Pleasure (Happy Birthday)
A year ago in this paper, I labelled “Warm Girls”, the above group’s debut single, as possibly 1980’s finest. Surprisingly, I still feel that way and following two more classic 45s, “Pleasure” has to be just about my most anticipated album ever. With guitarist/manager Jez Allen at the helm, Girls At Our Best! have had everything to date go their way, and almost all credit for that must go to him. But, as Malcolm McLaren has learnt, the problem with masterplans is they don’t always work, and with so much expectation heaped on one LP, GAOB! might end up disappointing their public.
However, the group live up to almost all promises. “Pleasure” is a heavenly collection of three-minute classic pop songs with wonderfully subtle yet intelligent lyrics, and comes complete with its own “pleasure bag”.
Thankfully the sound is back to the rawness of their guitar-orientated first single, And songs like “Fast Boyfriends”, “£600,000”, “Pleasure”, and “Goodbye To That Jazz” are a perfect blend of energy and melody. Vocalist Judy Evans continually narrates stories in the first person, while singing in that distinctive high, shrill and sugary voice.
The Girls! do give themselves room to experiment—piano pops up frequently, and a medieval feel is created on “She Flip ” by clarinet and harpsichord, be ore one of those gloriously uplifting synthesizer breaks. With “Waterbed Babies”, “Heaven” and “Too Big For Your Boots” never has an album given me so many tunes to whistle at a bus-stop.
So, any complaints? Only that GAOB! are relying too heavily on their image—both musically and visually—and are in danger of playing themselves into other people’s hands. But they’re only human, and can’t be The Beatles overnight.
My only other query is whether or not Girls At Our Best! really need LPs—they are definitely a singles group, and not one song here would sound out of place on a 45. Given that they are the perfect pop group (the great dividing line between The Jam and Depeche Mode?) to these ears, they could do a lot worse than doubling their seven inch output, and taking the nation’s charts by storm.
Because it could certainly do with them.