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Sulk / Fourth Drawer Down

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Customer Reviews

A Touch of Brilliance

White Car In Germany is a masterpiece. Either Sulk or Fourth Drawer Down would be great on it's own but together it's perfection. Party Frears Two, Kitchen Person, The Associate and the ever-brilliant Message Oblique Speech are stand-out tracks. Every song is a bit of greatness.

Bold Artistic Perfection Rendered Into A Potent Double Cocktail

Most Americans don't know about Billy MacKenzie and his group, The Associates, but back in 1980-82 they were crafting music very much in this tech-noir/John Barry mold. Billy was a multi-octave male diva beyond compare, but he was not afraid of diverting from the path of beauty for artistic reasons. If you liked Goldfrapp's "Felt Mountain" please know that its precedents were set by this group twenty years earlier. If you appreciate their work and would like to hear another amazing vocalist in a even more extreme hybrid of sound influences (considering that it was recorded in 1981-82) then by all means give "Fourth Drawer Down" and "Sulk" a listen. Their debut album "The Affectionate Punch" is the closest to what Goldfrapp picked up on twenty years later, but unfortunately, it is not available on iTunes. "Fourth Drawer Down" is unafraid to be harsh but exhilarating. It remains a thrilling leap into open air from an artistic cliff few would dare to imagine. My first listen to The Associates was when their compilation CD, "Popera" was released in 1990. I was intrigued by a song that would be titled "White Car In Germany." The title alone set the bar of expectation dramatically high. When I played it, it not only met but wildly exceeded my expectations. It was not only a great song called "White Car In Germany," it was the best possible song of that name! If "White Car In Germany" fails to pique your interest then I'm sorry for wasting your time! "Sulk" shows them beginning to embrace pop/dance aesthetics and saw them getting hits with the singles "Party Fears Two" and "Club Country" in the UK at that time. But tracks like "Bap De La Bap" are as extreme as some of the best of "Fourth Drawer Down" and still sound shocking to my ears 28 years later. Beats were just NOT MADE like that in 1982! Through it all, MacKenzie's unrestrained voice in the setting of multi-instrumentalist Alan Rankine's amazing guitars and synthesizers remains a phaser set on stunning.


Formed: 1979 in Dundee, Scotland

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s

Formed in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1979, the Associates comprised vocalist Billy Mackenzie and multi-instrumentalist Alan Rankine. Built on an eclectic mix of influences and interests ranging from art rock to glam and disco, the group debuted with a manic cover of David Bowie's "Boys Keep Swinging," which earned them a contract with Fiction Records. Their 1980 debut LP, The Affectionate Punch, was a critically acclaimed work which expanded...
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