Dead Or Alive front-man Pete Burns is best known these days for his disastrous experiences with plastic surgery (do a Google image search for Pete Burns if you’re brave) but once upon a time in the that mystical, glorious period known as the eighties he was a hand grenade of outrageousness and flamboyance actively subverting pop culture with his unique brand of trashy decadence.
Well, that’s what I told myself when I picked up a second hand copy of Brand New Lover. The 50 cent sticker was a warning that I promptly ignored.
He's changed a bit since this photo was taken.
I’d hoped that when I picked up this record from 1986 — which is like, totally more than 20 years old — that it’d be a nostalgic treasure from when ‘the eighties’ were yet to be invented and a gender bending ex goth / post punk performer could somehow find relevance in the mainstream pop charts.
Alas, the thing about this release is that it was a catchy radio-friendly tune transformed into a nine-minute remix. The operative word here is “was” — it’s done in that instantly recognisable analogue eighties style that nowadays seems so very primitive and limited. Nine minutes of the stuff, seemingly stretched for the sake of filling a whole a-side. Simple and unnecessarily repetitive and unimaginative extending of music. Was it considered crap for the period? Who knows. The music industry was profitable back in them days so record labels could presumably afford to offload more rubbish.
The b-side is not much better. It features a shorter albeit instrumental version of the title track which I guess must have taken the studio engineers all of three minutes to put together as they removed the vocals. It’s followed by a live version of the track In Too Deep.
Assuming this is a genuine enough recording and not a blatant overdub, this last track probably has one redeeming quality. Namely, you can really make out just how strong Burns’ voice was. If Wikipedia is to be believed, he was asked to join a band purely on the merits of his outrageous attire. The strength of his voice was supposedly discovered later.
The rest of this record, unfortunately, doesn’t do it much justice.