Monday, January 4, 2010

Worth Another Listen - Fine Young Cannibals

In 1984, after the break up of The English Beat, bassist David Steele and guitarist Andy Cox formed a band with singer Roland Gift, and it became known as Fine Young Cannibals. By 1985 they had their first album out, The Finest. Along with the album came a single, Johnny Come Home. It became a small hit in the US, climbing up the charts, and creating a stir with a the retro sound and Gift's striking good looks. The kinetic sexuality of the band was hard to miss.

The following year, they released Suspicious Minds, a remake of the Elvis Presley song that included background vocals by Jimmy Somerville, the amazing vocalist from the bands Bronski Beat and the Communards, as well as a fantastic solo career. Again, the kinetic energy of the band is an obvious factor, a strong characteristic of their 80s New Wave, post-punk persona.

In 1989 they released The Raw & The Cooked, their second and, unfortunately, final album. By 1992 they were no more, save a brief reunion in 1996 to record a single for a greatest hits collection. The new album was a departure from their first outing, much more mainstream and pop-driven. While it alienated a few fans, it certainly appealed to many new one, as it scored two number 1 hits, and the top spot on the US album charts. She Drives Me Crazy had a stronger rock sound, the guitars driving the opening beats.

Good Thing returned to the retro sound of the sixties, pre-dating Amy Winhouse and Duffy's ventures by almost 20 years. It brings a bit of Memphis soul to the proceedings.

After the breakup, both Steele and Cox continued to work in the music industry, and still do to this day. Gift went on to do some acting and released a solo album with limited success, and since the turn of the century, the band has done a couple of tours together. To find out more, you can catch up on Gift's official site here.


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