In the autumn of 1977, a most unlikely star made his big breakthrough on the UK music scene. A jerky and energetic man sporting Buddy Holly spectacles, Elvis Costello was to make regular appearances on Top of The Pops over the next couple of years. The power in most of his musical arrangements was immediate, but lyrically, this was a man who was a cut above. Spewing more sneering puns than anyone would likely hear on hit singles until Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine would make their breakthrough in 1989, Elvis cut a very distinctive presence.
Following several EPs, new-wave revivalist Kurt Baker released his first full-length LP ‘Brand New Beat’ at the tail-end of 2012. It’s half hour of tunes recalled strong links with Joe Jackson, Nick Lowe and Elvis Costello and often felt musically familiar, but was not any the less enjoyable for wearing its influences so obviously. The sessions also yielded a truckload of extra material; ‘Want You Around’, an upbeat number featuring Dan Vapid, provided the lead track of a 7” EP (and also appeared as a bonus track on the French CD pressing of ‘Brand New Beat’), backed with three cover tunes, including a spot-on version of Billy Joel’s ‘Sleeping With The Television On’. Discounting these four recordings, Baker was still in possession of an album’s worth of other tunes, most of which were collected on this 2014 release.
Singer-songwriter Edward O’Connell released his debut album in 2010 to unanimous approval from power pop/retro pop aficionados. As for the world at large, the album did indeed remain ‘Our Little Secret’. While all of the influences were worn blatantly upon his sleeve – literally, too: the front cover parodied Nick Lowe’s ‘Jesus of Cool’, the rear paid a gentler homage to Tom Petty’s ‘Damn The Torpedoes’ – O’Connell’s gift for melody shone brightly through each of the album’s songs and the love for his forebears couldn’t be any more flattering.