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Honey Steel's Gold

Ed Kuepper

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Album Review

A mix of extended self-explorations (and sometimes eviscerations) and shorter numbers, Honey Steel's Gold is Kuepper in many ways at his most dramatic and expansive. At the same time, there's hints of the calmer waters that he would explore in later years on albums like Character Assassination, though here there's more overt electric bite and tension. The comparisons that have often been made between Kuepper and the Cure's Robert Smith make a certain sense here, but more on the way both have an ear for using their guitar playing as a combination of texture and core melody, bringing a variety of dramatic shades to the songs. The title track, with its opening reverb-heavy loop set against a separate Morricone-like guitar line and a steady, relentless rhythm, is a killer example of Kuepper's abilities. Of the two extended numbers, "King of Vice" is especially remarkable, a slow grower that Kuepper's vocals almost (intentionally) get lost in, the music balancing a trance-touched mantra — check the swirls of guitars as they rise and fall in the background mix — and sudden shifts and new explorations. Chris Abrahams' piano break in the latter half of the song in particular takes the cake. As for the shorter tracks, "Everything I've Got Belongs to You" is a stone-cold Kuepper classic, balancing heartfelt love with just blunt enough lust and admission of darker sides, all set to a majestic, rich arrangement that the Band would have been proud to call its own. Other winners include the snaky, inventive "The Way I Made You Feel" — the sudden descending chord alone is killer — and the concluding instrumental "Summerfield." Later CD versions of the album included tracks from the No Wonder EP as a bonus, including covers of the Kinks and Paul Revere and the Raiders.

Biography

Born: Germany

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Though he formed the Saints with Chris Bailey in 1975, Ed Kuepper left the band before its biggest popular success (though after its best recordings). The Saints were one of Australia's premier punk bands, and Kuepper played on two albums before leaving in 1979 to form the Laughing Clowns, a band whose sound was jazzier and quite a bit more experimental than his former group. The Laughing Clowns released three EPs during the early '80s before their debut self-titled album appeared in 1982. Kuepper...
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Honey Steel's Gold, Ed Kuepper
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