This is a new-wave rock album straight from 1980, reflecting the exuberance and experimentation of that time. These songs are John’s first creations as he shifted into the new-wave genre from the folk-rock arena in which he was previously working for ten years. They incorporate the beginnings of a musical style which John has kept developing right into the present: Driving, repeating bass lines, minimal melody and chord movement, compelling and captivating rhythms that propel the songs and make them irresistible. These were John’s first songs recorded at his Crossfire Studios in New York City, a 16 track pro studio that offered budget rates to self-producing artists of that time. Although John got to know a ton of musicians as a studio owner, he kept multi-tracking on most of the songs, playing all the musical parts himself, feeling that he could get a better feel than even studio musicians with better chops. A few songs, however, feature an ensemble, notably ‘Cities,’ with sterling co-players who each went on to noteworthy achievements. Drums on most songs are played by Chris Adams, a young woman who John first heard playing at The Bitter End. Her sparse, super rock-steady precision was exactly what John was looking for to provide the foundation for his style. Another quite interesting song is ‘Girls,’ in which John uncannily predicts, in 1980, the hip-hop genre that exploded 20 years later. And John’s bizarre, tribal interpretation of the Coaster’s 50’s hit ‘Yakety-Yak’ again foretells the advent of pop musical primitivism. These songs were never released because John wanted to reserve his promotional efforts for his following album, ‘I Am A Model,’ which was released in 1982, and which John felt was a more mature representation of his developing new-wave style. However, these songs are every bit as powerful, and will be sure to transfix the listener seeking new, undiscovered sounds of the eighties new-wave.
Just In Style © 1980 John Ruskan
songs © 1980 John Ruskan