ARTIST: Townshend, Simon
ALBUM: Simon Townshend's Moving Target
LABEL: 21 Records
SERIAL: 422-825 872-1
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
LINEUP: Simon Townshend - guitar, vocals * Andy Shillito - bass * Dane Morrell - drums * Paul Rodgers - keyboards
TRACK LISTING: 01 Meet You * 02 Barriers * 03 Cats Away * 04 Sorry * 05 Price To Pay * 06 Believe In You * 07 Addiction * 08 Moving Target * 09 Frustrated Hearts * 10 Genuine
Living in the shadow of his brother Pete Townshend
is something that was always going to be a reality for Simon Townshend, but regardless he has manufactured a decent career, releasing his first single back in 1974 at the age of 14. Townshend released his first album 'Sweet Sound' in 1983 after some aborted projects prior to this, with Pete producing the album. Two years later Simon relocated to the U.S. and formed his own band titled nonsensically 'Simon Townshend's Moving Target'. Simon saw fit to enlist Neil Kernon for production this time, a wise move as Simon said himself he was trying to forge his own identity away from his brother. This saw him moving in an AOR direction of course, which forms the basis for this seemingly forgotten album. I didn't know of its existence until recently and it's been a wonderful acquisition, with some superb tracks on offer.
This album moves in a high-tech AOR direction, with some new wave overtones. Listening to Simon's vocals it's impossible not to think of his brother, as they sound virtually identical. But you know what? This is far superior to Pete's disappointing 'White City' the same year. For commercial AOR it's hard to top the title track, which would appeal to fans of Taxxi
or Rick Springfield
. The synths are in abundance and Simon's vocals suit this style of music. There isn't a bad song, with the highlights being the ultra melodic likes of 'Meet You' and 'Barriers'. The latter is especially worth listening to, a superb high-tech barrage with a chorus that could have been a major hit. 'Cat's Away' sounds a bit like 'Won't Get Fooled Again' in parts, but again it's another catchy hook that will be eaten up by readers here. 'Sorry' has the new wave aspects in the melody lines and if the likes of Go West
or Tears For Fears
make you sweat then this might be the remedy you've been seeking. 'Believe In You' ups the synthesized sound to new levels, with the obligatory bouncy bass highlighting the particular era this was recorded in. 'Addiction' is another overpowering high-tech affair, a work of mastery by Kernon who of course had a flair for this. It's brilliant naturally and for that matter so is 'Frustrated Heart' and its Pete Townshend
style guitar work. 'Genuine' sounds like a leftover from Pete's 'All the Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes' album, only it's more direct in the AOR department and nowhere near as complicated as Pete's often garbled lyrical manoeuvres.
This failed to break Simon big and despite attempting to record a follow up it never materialized. Simon tried again with a new band a few years later named On The Air
, one of his previous bands from 1980, but the album recorded was never released. Simon has continued to record and tour as a solo artist and also with The Who
on their various tours over the years, becoming Pete's backup guitarist. A good gig to have for sure! Simon once said he hated the material on `Moving Target', which is unfair considering it's general excellence in AOR circles. This is a gem worth discovering for the many out there I'm sure who haven't been subject to its numerous delights.
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