'Magnetic Heaven' (1986) - Wax
1) Right Between The Eyes 2) Hear No Evil 3) Shadows of Love 4) Marie Claire 5) Ball and Chain 6) Systematic 7) Breakout 8) Only A Visitor 9) Rise Up 10) Magnetic Heaven
Wax (known as 'Wax UK' in America) was the collective name for Andrew Gold and Graham Gouldman (ex-10cc) from 1986 to 1990, and was formed after Gold was introduced to the music of 10cc, and later to Gouldman, by Lenny Waronker, head of A & R for Warner Bros. at the time. Due to their previous successes, as musicians both Gold and Gouldman had very little to prove; in many ways Wax was a little self-indulgence on their part, just to see if they could write songs in a similar vein to a great deal of popular music around at the time. The result in relation this album, however (whilst, unsurprisingly, a little on the cheesy side) is a powerful yet effortless combination of sugar-sweet lyrics and undeniably catchy tunes (you'll be singing the choruses of 'Systematic' and 'Shadows of Love' for days), which together make this a debut album that is very difficult not to like. In short, if you want classic, upbeat 1980s pop music, this album is where you are going to find it. Standout tracks are 'Right Between The Eyes' (frankly, if that song doesn't make you feel like dancing, you must either be hard of hearing or a more than a little bit miserable) which was very popular in Spain when it was released as a single, and 'Ball and Chain' with its genius keyboard riff that seems to come out of nowhere and hit you...ahem...'right between the eyes'. The title track of the album (an instrumental) shows off the duo's musical prowess with its unpredictability as well as cleverly incorporated reprises of previous tracks, whilst 'Rise Up' is not only bound to have you tapping your feet, but is also ironically (purposefully?) reminiscent of Godley and Creme's 'An Englishman In New York'. On the other hand, amidst all this feel-good bounciness and cheeriness, we find the irritatingly-whiny 'Only A Visitor' which seems to drone on for most of the second side of the record. Whilst the brief change in tempo is appreciated, the track has very little tune and even less direction, and sounds uncomfortably out of place considering the calibre of the other songs. 'Only A Visitor' aside, however, this is a delightful album that, particularly considering the reputations of the musicians involved, deserved far more attention and success than it received. N.B. Do also check out the band's music videos if you get the chance. As far as I know they only made six official ones (for 'American English', 'In Some Other World', 'Ball and Chain', 'Right Between The Eyes, and two for 'Shadows of Love'), but they are definitely worth watching. They are quite similar to Peter Gabriel's 'Sledgehammer' video in that there is a lot going on in them, and they add a slightly different edge to some of the tracks.