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Blue Peter - 1980 Radio Silence

ARTIST: Blue Peter
ALBUM: Radio Science
LABEL: Ready
YEAR: 1980
CD REISSUE: 2007, Universal Canada, 769742505-2


LINEUP: Paul Humphrey - vocals, keyboards * Chris Wardman - guitar * Geoff McOuat - bass * Mike Bambrick - drums * Ray Parker - piano

TRACK LISTING: 01 Video Verite * 02 Where's My Angel * 03 Attraction * 04 Hessitate * 05 Shellshocked * 06 Radio Silence * 07 Neon Girls * 08 A.W.O.L * 09 I Walk Alone * 10 Take Me To War


The Blue Peter story is a fairly typical rock and roll tale of a band that should have made it to the big time but didn't get quite as far as they or critics would have liked. Formed by Paul Humphrey and Chris Wardman in mid-70's Toronto when flabby covers of BTO and The Guess Who were still in demand from seedy bar owners and their patrons, Blue Peter struggled to get gigs where they could display their punk-ish original material to appreciative audiences. As their situation gradually improved, the band became a popular draw among the local hipsters and picking up the occasional support gig with The Boomtown Rats, The Jam among others didn't hurt. Their first EP 'Test Patterns For Living' released in 1979 garnered heavy airplay on Toronto FM stations, although 'Radio Silence' released a year later showed remarkable growth and in my opinion is Blue Peter's new wavy best.

The Songs
Let's not mince words, 'Radio Silence' is very much a product of it's time and not entirely original. Vocalist Paul Humphrey knows his David Byrne and Bryan Ferry note for pompous note and I imagine guitarist Chris Wardman held Rick Nielsen in high esteem although I could be wrong! Well maybe not since this LP is a nearly perfect mix of art school rock (both the American and British versions) as well 'skinny tie' power pop that I've ever heard. Roxy Music, Cheap Trick and Talking Heads wrapped up in a nice tight little package that should have catapulted these boys onto the worldwide stage. All new wave and glammy 'Video Verite', the album's hit single packs a wallop as does 'Shellshocked' and 'Neon Girls', but it's Wardman's slashing riffs that separates this album from much of the drain pipe trouser brigade and provides the perfect ying- yang for Humphrey's arty crooning.

In Summary
Universal Canada has reissued this album along with 'Test Patterns for Living', as well as including two bonus cuts, the single mix of 'Video Verite' and a live version of 'Take Me To War' making great value for money. Blue Peter would split in 1983, but reunited a few years ago, taking the same 'comeback' route as other golden maple leaf oldies Spoons, Chalk Circle and Parachute Club. Will wonders never cease?

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