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    Thomas Dolby

    the golden age of wireless

    The Golden Age Of Wireless( 1982 )
    She Blinded Me With Science / Radio Silence / Airwaves / Flying North / Weightless / Europa And The Pirate Twins / Windpower / Commercial Breakup / One Of Our Submarines / Cloudburst At Shingle Street

    Is it just my memory playing tricks on me or did 'She Blinded Me With Science' really go top ten in America and not chart at all in the UK? I remember the video being played on TV a lot, but didn't realise it never breached the top 40. Indeed, checking out the reliable everyhit.com, only one song from this collection breached the top 40 and that was 'Windpower' which nestled in at number 31. I think part of the reason then is I remember the video but I also remember the album ( which also failed to breach the top 40 ) because my elder brother who turns 40 this year has played it a lot throughout the years. I know so many of these songs. It's a good album mind you, definitely a superior synth-pop effort. Well, it should be. There's been at least two different versions of the album, 'She Blinded Me With Science' and 'One Of Our Submarines' were replacement tracks on the album after the former became a US hit single. This is the version currently on CD, although the other tracks can easily be picked up on compilations. Right. Down to business! Thomas Dolby came from an academic family but chose synths and stuff instead of engineering or whatever. He would appear on stage surrounded by the things, much like we remember Howard Jones, although Thom Dolby got there first. In more recent days, he's famous for composing polyphonic ringtones for the likes of Nokia and for running a thriving technology/mobile phone ringtone business of sorts. Back in the eighties, it was once rumoured he'd replace Andy Partridge as singer in XTC when Andy didn't want to tour. He was a much in-demand session musician and oh, also found time to make a few albums of his own and produce several albums for Prefab Sprout.

    'She Blinded Me With Science' is annoying but catchy, it features samples of Magnus Pyke and Thomas Dolby himself apparently hates the track. It's also not in fact one of the best songs on the LP. I like the old wireless theme of the LP by the way, the retro futurism. I like 'Radiosilence' which if I had my way would have been a top 40 hit back in the day. 'Airwaves' is another super-strong track. Dreamy ballad synth mode with Thomas reaching for the notes surprisingly effectively given he doesn't seem to be a naturally powerful vocalist. Well, the whole thing is supremely well produced and he doesn't in fact need a lot of power, he softly reaches upwards. Speaking of airwaves, how about 'Windpower'? It was a hit, hoorah! It's speedy and quirky, much like 'Europa And The Pirate Twins' which spins along most enjoyably. Thomas Dolby doesn't actually try to blind you with science or virtuosity on the LP. Pop melodies are always much to the fore and the synth sound has a pleasingly natural lightness of touch. It sounds human. 'One Of Our Submarines' is also lovely by the way and only a couple of tracks misfire, namely the clunky 'Flying North'. Still, an excellent LP this that will please every synth-pop lover with good taste.

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    this page last updated 19/05/07



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