Music Reviews
The Boomtown Rats

The Boomtown Rats

Best of the Boomtown Rats

Universal

How fortunate that just as Saint Bob Geldof prepares to revisit his greatest triumph, 1985’s Live Aid, with a series of huge summer concerts, this compilation lands on my desk allowing for a re-evaluation of his early musical career. The Irish six-piece band is perhaps best remembered for their 1979 hit “I Don’t Like Mondays,” but as this generous 19-track overview shows, they had much more to offer. And thanks to some remastering, these tracks sound better than they did before, and they often pack a punch.

It’s interesting to note that the Rats’ first self-titled album (represented by five tracks here) spawned not only their punk-y first U.K. hit, “Looking After No. 1,” but also the very Springsteen-like “Joey’s On the Street Again.” A pre-Shania Twain Mutt Lange produced both, along with many of the other songs here.

The Rats second album, Tonic for the Troops, included both the sneering, hiccuping “She’s So Modern” and the saxophone-led “Rat Trap,” which combines more Springsteen-isms with a touch of Elvis Costello and fellow countrymen Thin Lizzy.

Their third album, The Fine Art of Surfacing, is the one that featured the aforementioned “I Don’t Like Mondays,” a song about a California teen who went on a killing spree (and blamed it on the title lament). It’s brilliant, though an uncharacteristic piano ballad with strings and a dramatic Geldof vocal. Fine Art also included the Ray Davies-like “Someone’s Looking At You,” with its impossibly high harmonies.

1980’s Mondo Bongo included “Banana Republic,” a reggae-tinged protest song with strong words for the band’s native Ireland. “The Elephants Graveyard” is a terrific song that still sounds like prime Elvis and the Attractions. 1982’s V Deep had the impressive ballad “Never In a Million Years,” which holds up despite Tony Visconti’s dated production. That lamentable “80s sound” does, however, mar much of the band’s 1983 swansong, In the Long Grass, which included otherwise decent pop songs like “Dave” and “Drag Me Down.” Showy pianist Johnny Fingers is notably absent from the proceedings as well. And as we know, Geldof already had his mind on other things.

Still, there is more than enough on this retrospective to remind us of what was once great about these Irishmen. And just in time for Saint Bob’s triumphant return.

Bob Geldof: http://www.bobgeldof.info


Recently on Ink 19...

Gasoline Lollipops

Gasoline Lollipops

Features

Gasoline Lollipops’ newest single, “Freedom Don’t Come Easy,” is today’s mother lovin’ punk rock folk anthem.

Basket Case

Basket Case

Screen Reviews

Frank Henenlotter’s gory grindhouse classic Basket Case looks as grimy as the streets of Times Square, and that is one of the film’s greatest assets. Arrow Video gives this unlikely candidate a welcome fresh release.

Jimmy Failla

Jimmy Failla

Event Reviews

Despite the Mother’s Day factor, hundreds of fervent, faithful followers still flocked to Orlando’s famed Plaza Live to catch an earlybird set from Jimmy Failla — one of the hottest names on today’s national comedy scene.

Lonnie Walker

Lonnie Walker

Features

Ink 19 readers get an early listen and look at “Cool Sparkling Water,” a new single from Lonnie Walker.

Los Lobos

Los Lobos

Event Reviews

Jeremy Glazier has a bucket list day at a Los Lobos 50th Anniversary show in Davenport, Iowa.

Always… Patsy Cline

Always… Patsy Cline

Archikulture Digest

Carl F. Gauze reviews the not-quite one-woman show, Always… Patsy Cline, based on the true story of Cline’s friendship with Louise Seger, who met the star in l961 and corresponded with Cline until her death.

Lorraine of the Lions

Lorraine of the Lions

Screen Reviews

A lady Tarzan and her gorilla have a rough time adapting to high society in Lorraine of the Lions (1925), one of four silent films on Accidentally Preserved: Volume 5, unleashed by Ben Model and Undercrank Productions, with musical scores by Jon C. Mirsalis.