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Articles Home » 1985 Articles » Time Bandits - 1985 Fiction
Time Bandits - 1985 Fiction

ARTIST: Time Bandits
ALBUM: Fiction
YEAR: 1985


LINEUP: Alides Hidding - lead vocals, guitars, keyboards * Ake Danielson - keyboards, backing vocals * Kim Haworth - drums, percussion, backing vocals * Dick Schulte Nordholt - bass, backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Dancing On A String * 02 I Want To Live * 03 I Won't Steal Away * 04 You Are Every World * 05 Runaway * 06 Only A Fool * 07 Back Against The Wall * 08 Endless Road * 09 America * 10 I'm Only Shooting Love (special remix)

It's probably been a good 20 years between buying the two albums I own by the Time Bandits. I remember my first experience picking up their 1987 opus, 'Can't Wait For Another World', for a pound from Reddingtons Rare Records (this shop in Birmingham issued a single by Quartz of a version of Mountain's 'Nantucket Sleighride') which seems quite a contradiction, rare record selling for a pound? And this 1985 album 'Fiction' for a couple of pounds at a recent record fair, although with a sticker on the cover stating 50p, from the Record & Tape Exchange. While the 1987 release only crossed my turntable a couple of times in those years, due to it only being light pop and new romantic, I have always been slightly underwhelmed with it, if I am to be honest, my more recent purchase has been played more times in the last 2 months than the other has in the last 2 decades. Tracing the history of Time Bandits, which begins in 1982 and finishes in 1987, they managed to release 4 albums and were very successful and popular in Australia, New Zealand (in fact most countries except Britain, of course!), strange as these guys come from Holland, which in reality never set the music world on fire in large quantities. They managed to find that success based on a set of great catchy, well-constructed songs, because they never sold them on the basis of the album covers that's for sure. What was the concept behind 'Fiction' I've no idea, which takes a rock, hovering on water, a statue being hit by lightning? Nice. Ok the songs are calling, so here goes, and take a step back in time, before we get tied up by Mexican bandits.

The Songs
'Dancing On A String' is an excellent way to start, whistling, plonk of a synthesizer, 80's new romantic verse grows into an epic pre chorus, with signs of Saga, to a crucial chorus that explodes into sentiment, seriously the quality enough to make you weep, just perfect. The song contains waves of keyboards streaking across the skyline, pop aor perfection.

'I Want To Live' is definitely not a Nick Clegg, this a worthy deputy to the opener, and being over 5 minutes in duration, they certainly were not always relying on a 3 minute flash in the pan single success but saying that I could still see this having some chart action, (sounding like Gary Davies, cheesy 80's radio one DJ, for a minute). This pulls together early Michael Learns To Rock and sound like the younger offspring of Grand Illusion. More than hi tech AOR, as I have also found that explanation sometimes leading to a lack of melodic quality, quite quirky meaning irritable, striving to mix pop boundaries with AOR credentials but failing, here, Time Bandits succeed.

'I Won't Steal Away' is pop AOR, very keyboard, drum machines but great quality, vocally Alides Hidding is perfect, smooth, warm and the right amount of desperation in his delivery, your song senses come in for a right hiding!. Song wise, although I hate to say it, similar to what could come out of the Stock, Aitken and Waterman stable (or cesspit?) but I don't find even that explanation holds it back. Also what about this? mixing Bros and Speedway Boulevard!

The westcoast aspects are covered with 'You Are Every World', another pleasing tune and I won't deduct points by using the awful lyric, being my pet hate of 'easy come easy go', this smacks of Toto and even parts of Strangeways.

Every great melodic album has to have a track called 'Runaway' and this is no exemption. More keyboards than Didge Digital has at his disposal, this outruns UK aorsters FM in writing catchy choruses. The result seems to be a coming together of a foreign exchange with members of Airrace and Heartland, exceptional quality is reported at the end of term assessment.

'Only A Fool', sounds like Tina Turner is my first somewhat strange conclusion, but it does have that Motown energy in the tanks, while Terence Trent D'arby is found checking the oil and cleaning the windscreen, it works, but only just.

At this point the rock energy seems to be dissipating, and 'Back Against The Wall' doesn't do anything to stop this. Far too much pop for my liking, even Level 42, the worst so far, please let's get back to the bassist playing the bass guitar round his knees rather than chest.

Finally, back on course, the sublime 'Endless Road', just listen to the keyboard opening, presents a big clue on what's involved here. This song is just a wimpy melodic syrupy AOR mess on the floor and it's perfect. This stuff should only be produce in Sweden? So creamy and sweet, they have just invented a new flavour to the Angel Delight range. Pick Bogart, Beau Heart, even has some 80's Asia horns, stunning.

Standards drop again though, with 'America', this is funky, but not a good way, I'm afraid not like the great Dan Reed Network, but more Michael Jackson and definitely lacks the red codpiece of the power funksters Cameo. Not surprisingly sounds dated, not remotely dangerous, in fact a bit flaky.

Tucked away at the end of side 2, is 'I'm Only Shooting Love', which along with 'Endless Road', helped push them to the notice of many countries ears, especially Australia. Yep dance infused, but it still has a commendable pop mix with westcoast, enjoyable romp. Lots of drum machine, weird sounds, it's not rock, but quality nevertheless.

In Summary
While I have mentioned a string of AOR bands, let's be firm about this, I really don't think that they meant to be nothing but a pop band, it's just the great song writing, with excellent tunes can easily be appreciated by the lovers of those bands I have noted. The jump from pop to some AOR is not such a great divide. Overall I'm still confused with the direction, maybe this scenario might help, imagine wearing a Time Bandits t-shirt, would it impress the Firefest crowd, or would they just be unappreciable and go unnoticed, or confusing you with someone turning up too early for the 80's disco. Maybe uncomfortable wearing in a pub, but you may get some admiring looks from the 50 something check out ladies at your local supermarket. Two years later brought a small sea change, out went Haworth and Nordholt and in come three replacements including Hugo de Bruin and Michel de Groot, who to my mind sounds like the central defence pairing for PSV Eindhoven. Hidding obviously still the captain. With 'Can't Wait..' any rock aspects have certainly been ironed out, with words like 'Dancing' and ' Dreamworld' appearing in the titles, although with 'True Love' it still contained the odd quality moment, so still worth climbing the mountain of gushing pop sentimentally you face on the first 3 tracks to be rewarded with this sugar melodic mountain peak. That seems the last we heard of Time Bandits, Hidding moved to America and carried on writing and began touring with his new band in 2006, although I'm not sure if anything recording wise ever come out of this. Whatever, I can still heartily recommend many tracks on this album, it's fun, pretty harmless and probably more pleasing than so called AOR classics you may get fooled into buying. And with the high price this achieves on CD, makes me tend to think that its obsessive AOR collectors pushing up the price rather than 'Frankie says yes' fans revisiting their youth. My advice is to settle for a cheap vinyl copy, it's still the same songs!

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#1 | gerard on September 27 2012 23:09:18
Very nice to see this here! A lot of great, catchy songs (Dancing on a string, Endless road, You are every world, Only a fool). More pop than aor, but very enjoyable. Saw the TB perform a few years ago to an 'audience' that consisted of only a few people, mostly engaged in conversation. Came across Alides Hidding on Hanne Boel's album 'Misty paradise'. He co-wrote the song 'What have we got to lose'.
#2 | Eric on September 28 2012 00:00:47
I like it as well, cool cover art too. Another great Dutch band and as pointed out, all their stuff on CD is expensive. A perfect fit for a reissue label like Yesterrock. Just saying...
#3 | gdazegod on September 28 2012 03:33:40
As Chris says, 'I'm Only Shooting Love' was a pretty popular song down under back in the day.
#4 | AOR Lee on September 28 2012 15:22:12
Endless Road was the massive hit in South Africa, and remains a hi-nrg classic to this day. Shooting Love was a non event but Dancing On A String had some airplay
#5 | tonissive on September 29 2012 19:25:29
i play the 'single of 'endless road' years ago, maybe a million of times!
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