ARTIST: Off Broadway
SERIAL: SD 19263
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
LINEUP: Cliff Johnson - vocals * John Ivan - guitars * Rob Harding - guitars * Mike Gorman - bass * Ken Harck - drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 Stay In Time * 02 Bad Indication * 03 New Little Girl * 04 Drop Me A Line * 05 Hang On For Love * 06 Full Moon Turn Your Head Around * 07 Bully Bully * 08 You Belong To You * 09 Moneys No Good * 10 Oh Boy
This is probably an album best reviewed by our erstwhile 'power pop' afficienado Eric Abrahamsen. However, I am going to jump in first. The mid-west produced a flurry of bands playing in the new wave/power pop radio friendly style. If we wind the clock back to the late seventies, the scene, particularly in America was well populated by the likes of Cheap Trick
and The Knack
. Ironically, before I had heard this album, it was their second album 'Quick Turns' that had passed my way instead. That was an ordinary album to these ears at least, and I wasn't hopeful that 'On' was going to fare that much better. Well lo and behold, it does, and enjoy it I did. Keeping it in context, the band do what they do well, and don't tend to step outside their limited musical boundaries. Fans of mid-west faves Pezband
should already know of Off Broadway due to their related histories. Yes, there are hints of contemporary artists who were around at the time (acts like Elvis Costello
, Joe Jackson
, Bram Tchaikovsky
). Another irony, is that some of the so-called indie bands that we hear of now have their musical style based on acts around this era. So perhaps unwittingly, Off Broadway became scene-setters for a future genre without even realising it!
The album is full of jangly guitar lines, quirky arrangements, and bristling energy. Tracks like 'Full Moon Turn Your Head Around' get the feet tapping, as does the melodic and commercial affair that is 'Hang On For Love'. A crowd favorite is 'Bully Bully', with it's over-simplified chorus, 'Bad Indication' beats out a merry power-pop tune while 'New Little Girl' harks back to sixties flavored pop, perhaps an indication as to where this bands trues roots lie. Say Beatles
anyone? The band reputedly sold about 200,000 copies of this album, with the opener 'Stay In Time' being their initial single.
Being from Chicago, the band always had to swim in the shadow of Cheap Trick
, and though considered to be a second-tier outfit, Off Broadway actually wrote some great tunes. Their cause was not helped by mis-matched appearances with other HM/rock bands while out on the road. As a consequence, they invoked a fair bit of derision from concert attendees as a result. The band's two albums for Atlantic are now out on CD, as well as a live performance from 1998 called 'Live In Chicago At Fitzgeralds' though by this stage original lead guitarist John Ivan was missing. That CD contains many of the tracks evident on this debut set. For power-pop fans especially.
Related ArticlesOff Broadway - 1979 OnOff Broadway - 1980 Quick Turns
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