Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Acting My Age
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock
Graduate features Roland Orzabel and Curt Smith in their days prior to attaining international stardom with Tears For Fears. They formed in Bath on the back of the New Wave boom of the late 1970's. After a one-off indie... more »
Graduate features Roland Orzabel and Curt Smith in their days prior to attaining international stardom with Tears For Fears. They formed in Bath on the back of the New Wave boom of the late 1970's. After a one-off indie 45, they signed to precision and enjoyed a radio hit with 'Elvis Should Play Ska' (referring to Elvis Costello's critical remarks about the 2-Tone scene), which proved popular across Europe. 19 tracks in all including the 9 bonus tracks 'Ambition', 'I See Through You', 'Premature Baby', Christ Look Upon Us', 'Oh U Boys', 'Only The Best', 'Think Of Me', 'Happens So Fast' & 'No Second Troy'.
It's Pre Tears For Fears - and very different
L.A. Scene | Indian Trail, NC USA | 11/05/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you are a major Tears For Fears fan, the band Graduate has much meaning. This is the band that Tears For Fears fans term Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith's "Pre Tears For Fears" days. This is a very accurate statement. For many years much of the work of Graduate was not widely available. In 2002, Sanctuary Graduate's only album "Acting My Age" was re-released. Included with this album are songs that Graduate was to include on a second album. Two of these songs were actually released while 7 additional songs that never were released are included. The term "Pre Tears For Fears" is very accurate - this is a very different sound than anything you would hear with Tears For Fears. Despite being a different sound, this is one terrific album - another gem involving Curt and Roland.
Curt and Roland would leave Graduate in 1981. Much of the reason why they left Graduate was that they didn't want to be confined to a band. Graduate was a 5 piece band consisting of Curt, Roland, Andy Marsden, John Baker, and Steve Buck. When they would form Tears For Fears - they would operate in a "project" mode. This would mean that Curt and Roland would form the nucleus and bring in surrounding musicians to help them complete the picture. Graduate was a full group - and the quintet was the base for the group. When Tears For Fears was formed, they would start out as a Synth-Pop band and eventually would transform themselves into a more natural sound that many would term "Beatle-esque". The first album that Tears For Fears would do would be an album called "The Hurting". As the title suggests, this was an album that dealt with the emotions surrounding pain. Later, When Tears For Fears would make "The Hurting", they almost seemed to put a more dark and haunting spin on New Wave. This was an album that really had a heavy Synth-Pop sound - and was an excellent debut album. This is a very different sound than Graduate.
The sound of Graduate was capturing on a music style known as the Mod Revival. Graduate's sound also had New Wave influences (some might even argue that Mod Revival was really an off-shoot of New Wave). In late 1979, the Mod Revival had begun to take full stream. Graduate's sound emulated a very close match to bands such as The Jam and early Elvis Costello. Mod Revival is often denoted by a Red, White, and Blue Target. The "Acting My Age" album cover seems to have visual references to this target. The Drums have the colors of the target and the "Age" is put in a target icon that reminds you of the Mod Revival target. As much as Tears For Fears became Beatle-esque in their music and appearance with their later music, the pictures of Curt and Roland with the Graduate band members in suits and ties conjures up memories of the suit and tie days of the Beatles in their early days (The suits and ties also remind me of a more modern group - The Hives). You won't hear too much of Curt in the vocals department - on Graduate, it's clear that Roland is the lead vocalist.
As mentioned the music does not sound like the direction that Tears For Fears would take on "The Hurting". In most cases, the music is much more campy. I mentioned Elvis Costello above. With Graduate it isn't hard to draw parallels in the styles between Graduate and Costello - it's easy to see the Costello influence. One of Graduate's more popular songs "Elvis Should Play Ska" was actually a song directed at Elvis Costello. It was around this time that there was also a revival in Ska Music. Costello had made a comment about Ska artists being one-hit wonders. Roland felt Costello had sour grapes and thus wrote the song.
There are many other good tracks on this album. In fact, all of the tracks are terrific. The first four songs are outstanding - "Acting My Age", "Sick and Tired", "Ever Met a Day", and "Dancing Nights" are all very catchy songs and immediately establish the talent and potential of Graduate. If you listen to the chords and melodies of "Ever Met a Day", you may actually hear a bit of a Disco influence (despite the fact that nobody admitted it in their music, there was an influence in many songs). The best song is a very unique song that is included is "I See Through You". This was a song that was released, but not on the original "Acting My Age" album. The song starts out with an R&B groove. The best thing is how the song "pauses" in several spots - makes a great effect. It also segues into a more acoustic toward the end. In the unreleased track "Christ Look Upon Us", there isn't much of a New Wave or Mod influence (the later, unreleased tracks seem to move away from the Mod sound). Roland had always been fascinated with exploring religious themes and this song is no exception. All of the unreleased tracks are excellent.
As for the liner notes, there are no lyrics that are included. This is a bit disappointing considering these songs are not widely circulated. There isn't a lot in production and band credits either. The booklet with the liner notes opens up in panel format. There is a terrific write-up by Christopher MacAdams (who is widely respected as an authority on Graduate). This write-up is almost worth the price of the CD. Also included is a Singles and Albums Discography of Graduate. If you are a deep Tears For Fears fan, you will soon get hooked on this album. It does sound very different than anything you are used to with Tears For Fears. A new fan looking for some outstanding Mod Revival music should also be satsified. This comes highly recommended."