Monday, April 13, 2015

Flaunt the Imperfection

Flaunt the Imperfection, released in 1985, is quintessential era pop with which few Americans are familiar. Unfortunate, as it is just as pleasing as many of the stateside giants' output.  Brit New wavers China Crisis had a video or two on MTV earlier on, but in the U.S. they were little more than an across the pond curiosity.  While preparing to record Flaunt, their third effort, the group were contacted by Walter Becker, then former of Steely Dan, to produce.  Becker also contributed synthesizer and percussion on each track (and received credit as a fifth official member). His touch is unmistakable.  This was a heavenly union, as China Crisis already had jazzy Dan leanings in their repertoire.  And the lyrics are often quite baffling, so there you go.

Flaunt the Imperfection, unheard by me until about two years ago, almost instantly became a mellow favorite, a go-to album when I'm craving something easy and warm.  Its sound is so very '80s, comparable to artists like Spandau Ballet, OMD, and a myriad of others.  I will always have a soft spot for those ineffectual vocals and that cleanly produced, keyboard heavy style, something Becker certainly knew a thing or two about.  Many of the tracks are in a joyously rapid tempo, like "The Highest High" and "King in a Catholic Style".  Others are more reserved ("Blue Sea"). After a few listenings, the tunes seemed as if remembered from thirty years ago.  Repeat listens now feel like fond memories, the way something by Heaven 17 or English Beat might. While I do enjoy other China Crisis albums, Flaunt the Imperfection is a near perfect collection.
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