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Frankie Goes to Hollywood - Liverpool

  by Fiona Hutchings

published: 21 / 1 / 2011

Frankie Goes to Hollywood - Liverpool
Label: Select Label
Format: N/A


In our 'Re:View' column, in which our writers reflect on albums from the past, Fiona Hutchings examines Frankie Goes to Hollywood's 1986 second album, 'Liverpool', which split critics upon its release and has just been re-released in a double CD reissue

Frankie Goes To Hollywood released 'Liverpool' in 1986. It was their second album and the last to consist entirely of new material. Although greatly anticipated, it did not recapture the dizzy heights of 'Relax' 'Two Tribes' or 'Welcome to the Pleasure Dome'. Its sometimes hard and aggressive edge was undoubtedly influenced by the fact the band was already imploding under the weight of their earlier success. Vocalist Holly Johnson left the band soon after completing the requisite promotional tour. The determination and self confident awareness that marked out 1984's 'Welcome To The Pleasure Dome' was in danger of becoming an almost grotesque self parody two years later. In the light of all this it seems a slightly odd choice to re-release. Reviewers at the time were split. Some thought Frankie's belief in their own importance was inflated and ill founded. Others, notably 'Q', described it as "a brilliant noise - the most epic barrage of controlled decibels anyone's ever made." Singles 'Rage Hard', 'Warriors of the Wasteland' and 'Watching The Wildlife' made small ripples at the time. The two disc set is of the re-release is of the quality I have come to expect from ZTT. It is appealing to look at and handle and the enclosed book packs a lot of information and photos into a small space. In terms of what you actually get, well firstly there is the original 'Liverpool' album consisting of eight tracks. 'Rage Hard' owes much to both Bowie and Martin Fry of ABC and should have been a much bigger hit. It is catchy and reminiscent of 'Two Tribes'. 'Warriors' is pure Mad Max. 'Kill The Pain' mixes rolling guitar riffs with electronic noise to great effect. Also on the first disc is 'The Other Side Of Liverpool' which includes an amazing lip curled cover of Bowie's 'Suffragette City' and '(don't lose what's left) Of Your Little Mind' which were both included in later versions of the album. The six other tracks comprise three never before released tracks and a couple of remixes. The second disc is a mixed bag with more totally new to the world unreleased tracks, demos and mixes and some that were only previously released on tape or vinyl. It is split into 'The Liverpool Journey','Warriors Cassetted' and 'Wildlife Cassetted'. There is always a healthy dollop of self indulgence with any reissue. After all do we really want to hear all the demos and rarieties and remixes? Well, yes, actually we do - if we liked the original album. I think 'Liverpool' is slightly undervalued both then and now. Frankie had created such a solid brand both in look and sound with their first album that the fight both internal and external to break the expectations and confines was inevitable. The overall sound is rockier, but I don't find it hard to access. Some tracks are more polished and cohesive than others. I suspect if you were to look up 'the difficult second album' in the dictionary, this may well be what you find.

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Frankie Goes to Hollywood - Liverpool

Frankie Goes to Hollywood - Liverpool

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