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The Sound of Philadelphia

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Customer Reviews

Who'd've thought....Hurrah! on iTunes!

This isn't a 'greatest hits' or a "retrospective live album" (as stated on Wikipedia); it's rather a collection of early singles and what sound like demos of later singles. For a band who didn't really trouble the charts at all this collection begs the question 'why?' The early singles are jangly guitar pop - 'The Sun Shines Here', 'I'll Be Your Surprise' and 'Hip Hip' are catchy, well crafted songs. The songs from the 'Boxed' EP (1985) appear here in the same form - the production always seemed a bit iffy to me. Paul Handyside has a great voice but the guitars often seem like they're being played through a 10 watt practice amp and the drums sound like biscuit tins. Maybe this is part of the charm but maybe its why bands such as Orange Juice and Altered Images enjoyed commercial success whilst these guys didn't. I remember when the single 'Big Sky' was reviewed on Radio 1's 'Round Table' - some American diva was reviewing the songs (I've long forgotten her name) and she laughed and commented that this Kitchenware single sounded like it was made in a kitchen. I was annoyed at her snobbery at the time but in hindsight maybe she had a point. Handyside and Taffy Hughes were undoubtedly talented songwriters; the band were also excellent live. The songs from the 'Tell God I'm Here' debut album sound like the original demos. 'Sweet Sanity' is played much slower, 'How Many Rivers' is slower and includes an eerie slide guitar type sound and 'Miss This Kiss' is more acoustic and lacks the fierce lead guitar outro. However these are great songs - full of energy and power. Some of the other demos have the charm of very basic production values. The bass often sounds like a big rubber band twanging.This collection is more for fans than anyone wanting an introduction to the band. I'd suggest you track down an elusive copy of 'Tell God I'm Here' if you want a flavour of Hurrah! They were a talented band who beg the question 'if only...' If only Arista had publicised and marketed the second album, if only Taffy Hughes could have hit those high notes a little better, if only the support slot on U2's Joshua Tree tour had led to something more, if only the production had been more professional.......


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s

With their ripped jeans and leather jackets, the British guitar pop band Hurrah! might've been considered rebellious -- back in the '50s. Nevertheless, in 1987 Hurrah! were unlikely victims of controversy when the video for the single "Sweet Sanity" was banned from American television. Featuring two ladies holding hands, the video almost prevented the group from entering the U.S. Formed in the early '80s by Paul Handyside (guitar, vocals), David "Taffy" Hughes (guitar, vocals), David Porthouse (bass),...
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The Sound of Philadelphia, Hurrah
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