Wednesday, September 5, 2012

"As Far as Siam" by Red Rider (1981)

View the Premise & Ground Rules for Revisiting Vinyl

Filed between: Otis Redding and Lou Reed

Key Tracks: Lunatic Fringe, Only Game in Town, What Have You Got to Do (To Get Off Tonight)

Obvious Filler & Swings-and-Misses:Thru the Curtain, Caught in the Middle, Don't Let Go of Me

My Overall Rating of the Tracks Separately: Above Average (2.5/4 stars)

Tom Cochrane has the dubious, paradoxical honor of being a one-hit wonder twice.  During his very underrated solo career, he scored a massive hit with Life Is a Highway.  Years prior, his band Red Rider had a single hit with Lunatic Fringe.  Red Rider's career was not underrated whatsoever.

"As Far as Siam" certainly gets credit for balance though.  Of the nine tracks, there are three really good songs, three middle of the road songs and three terrible songs.  Unfortunately, that's about the only place it finds balance.  The songs careen wildly from (often misguided) swaggering machismo to "River" era Springsteen knockoffs.  Interestingly, Red Rider succeeds and misses equally with either category.

Musically, I would rank them at a seven out of ten on the Loverboy scale.  That means they sound pretty much the same as Loverboy, only not quite as creative with the sound.  If you've heard Working for the Weekend, then you know what "As Far as Siam" sounds like.  If you haven't heard Working for the Weekend, why are you reading this blog?  Oh wait, there is the one exception.  Like every other early eighties rock band with a syth, there has to be one song that apes The Police as closely as possible.  Here, it's Laughing Man - decent fun, but ultimately harmless.

So, is it an album?  No.  It's angst turning in weird ways and glimmers of a great singer-songwriter to come.

Up next, we take in an entirely different direction with "I Don't Believe You've Met My Baby" by The Louvin Brothers.

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