Naked Eyes

Naked Eyes

Everything and More

One Way

Naked Eyes are best remembered for their 1983 hits “Always Something There To Remind Me” and “Promises, Promises.” While they were never exactly pioneers in the mode of a Vince Clark, the Bath, England pair did have something more to offer than those skillful if overplayed cuts. Their two albums, Naked Eyes (Burning Bridges in the UK) and Fuel For The Fire, contain electric-textured (by Rob Fisher, who passed away in 1999) dance-pop with a good vocalist (Pete Byrne) singing wry lyrics.

Those seeking a broad introduction to that material will want to start with one of the other two or three compilations on the market. What recommends this collection to fans of melodic, synthetic “alternative” dance-pop of the ’80s are the previously-unreleased-on-CD gems found here. Some of these rarities are Naked Eyes B-sides like “Pit Stop,” but what will really hook fans are four pieces garnered from the duo’s previous existence as part of a sextet called Neon. When Fisher and Byrne split off from that group, the rest went on to form a fine band of their own. In fact, you could say that from Naked Eyes, Tears For Fears fell. Though “Me I See In You,” included here in its original Neon B-side version, was later re-recorded by Naked Eyes, this arrangement is superior. And in hindsight, 1981’s “Communication Without Sound” sounds seminal; barely three years later songs like it would be all over the Valley Girl soundtrack.

Everything and More is for confirmed Naked Eyes and synth pop fans; it may indeed be everything and even more than they want. No less than three separate mixes of “Promises, Promises” are included, the best of these being Tony Mansfield’s (Naked Eyes producer and member of New Musik) 12″ mix. On Arthur Baker’s 12″ version of Sacrifice, he does his usual great job at making a cut interesting, but this was never one of the best titles in the Naked Eyes catalog. Whatever you do, do not think of “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin'” as you listen to the main riff.

While I’m at it, playing Chic’s “Good Times” too soon after “Promises, Promises” is not recommended, either. Two Jellybean (Benitez) mixes feature a cameo appearance by Madonna, his then less-famous girlfriend. Her spoken-word recitation adds little to the track — she couldn’t act then, either — but they do add a considerable amount of novelty value.

Promise, promise, that’s what Naked Eyes had.

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