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Behind Closed Doors

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Album Review

It's understandable that numbers of unwary buyers thought there had been some mistake; the sleeve claimed this was a Secret Affair record, but surely this couldn't be the same band that gave the world Glory Boys? Actually, it could. The group had seen which way the wind was blowing, or more accurately, felt the first stings of the mod backlash, and had reacted accordingly. The result was Behind Closed Doors, singer Ian Page's vision for the band's future. The grand idea was to make the album a showcase of both Affair's musical abilities and to expand beyond their mod sound of yore. Gone were all references to their Motown heroes, and while hints of British beat did shine through, they were so transmuted as to barely qualify for the label. As for punk, not even a tinge of that remained, no matter how hard one searched through the grooves. If anything, Doors was the antithesis of all things punk, and one final kick in the dying genre's head. Instead, listeners were presented with an album that heralded the '80s, in all its glory and excesses, a good two years before the rest of the rock world caught up. Amazingly, the band accomplished this transformation all on their own. Page not only produced the record, but also arranged the strings, whose lush tones spilled across many of the tracks. In retrospect, it's amazing Doors didn't slam to the top of the charts, at least in America. Packed with ten pop/rockers, littered with Springsteen-esque brass (now augmented by new member Dave Winthrop's sax), rocky guitars, occasional flashes of British Invasions past, fleshed out by a grand piano and synths, and all accentuated by the slick production, it was perfect for the U.S. market. Perhaps if the band had changed their clothes as well as their sound, it all could have been different. It sank without a trace here, and barely stumbled into the U.K. Top 50 — a classic case of too much, too soon. The CD reissue appends two B-sides to the original album. The oh-so-cool "So Cool," backed Affair's "My World" single, while the funk-esque "Take It or Leave It" accompanied "Sound of Confusion."

Biography

Formed: 1978 in London, England

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '00s

Secret Affair, consisting of Ian Page (vocals, trumpet, piano, organ), David Cairns (guitar, backing vocals), Dennis Smith (bass, backing vocals), and Seb Shelton (drums), formed in 1978. Taking their inspiration from the Jam, the group was quickly seen as one of the shining stars of the mod revival movement of the late '70s. They received their most important early exposure by supporting the Jam on small-scale tours in England and followed with several mod package tours with bands such as the Purple...
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Behind Closed Doors, Secret Affair
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