Leisure Noise

qonline.co.uk June 1999

Beyond the hype comes the recycling...

Creating new life from '70s and '80s rock is no mean feat, but Gay Dad have made a splendid fist of it. These 10 songs are tight and driven, while the tunes and soaring choruses are so strong that at first all the recycled traits, structures and little nicks (slightly amended) are hardly noticeable.

It's not just Queen guitars or Bowie angst, but also such terminally unhip acts as Bread (the excellent Black Ghost) or Talk Talk (the naked, scared Jesus Christ), while Dateline - introduction courtesy of The Who and Blue Öyster Cult - namechecks Life On Mars, School's Out and Van Halen's Hot For Teacher.

But mere recycling is not enough, as a former music writer Cliff Jones ought to know, and there's a special chemistry at work in this fresh, informed '90s slant. Jones has both the heart of a romantic true believer and the showy drama of Freddie Mercury or Marc Almond, with a bit of Steve Harley's early mannerism thrown in for art's sake. Ah yes, art.

The lyrics are the weak point - the more "poetic" images teetering on the edge of pretension - but the music is good enough to carry them. The pained love songs and enigmatic persona of troubled dreamer - to say nothing of the misfit song characters and flirtation with sexual confusion - may make Jones the new hero of bedsitterland. Whether he makes it to the stadiums remains to be seen, but this is a thrillingly energising, gorgeously melodic and strangely beautiful beginning.

Ian Cranna

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