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Speedboats for Breakfast

James Reyne

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Album Review

After a five-year absence, James Reyne returned with a grungier, heavier sound. Gone was the lightness of Design for Living, and in its place was a lyrical and melodic maze that sounded unlike anything Reyne had ever done before. The single "The Rainbow's Dead End" is a perfect example: "Hotel, motel drifters one and all/Lie like dead men down in rows/Against the Bondi Beach sea wall/The mirror smeared with wasted chance/And nicotine-stained romance/This must be the rainbow's dead end." Working with collaborator Scott Kingman, Reyne concocted a terrifying album that includes tracks with titles like "Nail," "Hangman's Wages," and "Pusherman." It all culminates in the album's final track, a remake of Olivia Newton-John's "Have You Ever Been Mellow?" (called simply "Mellow") that does an almost punk run-through of the original. Since Newton-John appeared on Reyne's debut solo album, one can only read this as a brave move in a hard new direction. As Reyne put it himself in "Lustre," "There's a tyranny of distance/Between you and I." From the half-submerged clown's head on the album's original cover to the dense lyrics and production within, Reyne made the most frightening album of his career. At least he proved he could still push the envelope with the best of them.

Biography

Born: Lagos, Nigeria

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s

Following the demise of the seminal Australian Crawl, lead singer James Reyne continued to chart the musical path he initiated in the last stages of his former band's career. It was through leaving his homeland that the Melbourne native found the inspirations for his debut disc. After two years of touring the world, Reyne began his solo work in London, sculpting out a sound indebted to the Crawl but with a depth, scope, and edge uniquely his own. The resultant cinematic James Reyne, released in Australia...
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Speedboats for Breakfast, James Reyne
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