The Terrible Twos
Philip Ames | BROOKLYN, NY USA | 02/18/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"...as in there were two versions of this album released. They featured radically different mixes and performances of the songs and also the cover artwork. Rankine/Mackenzie were (allegedly) unhappy with the first version (this cover featured the two as runners on the starting blocks) and so remixed and redid it all. It was a crushing disappointment as the first version was so eerie and edgy, and also caught more of the flavor and majesty of them live.
So I still don't know which version of the album this is... I assume the second, so that gets 2 stars. The first version gets 5. (anyone got one they want to sell ????????)"
The Affectionate Punch..Draws Blood
Philip Ames | 07/26/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I first discovered Associates as a college student, when I got a promo CD of the now out of print PopEra, the survey of the Associates' output up to 1989. I must say I never heard anything quite like it--big big over-the-top vocals and chilly synths. For those of you that like the more austere side of early-eighties synth-wave, Affectionate Punch is definitely a disc worth getting--I had to go all the way to London to get my copy--Amazon.com is much more convenient! Affectionate Punch is the first album that Associates released. Early versions of the songs were recorded with The Cure's Robert Smith singing backup. Sparse guitar, cold synths (as on the title track), and wry lyrics comprise the whole here, as on the single A..., which is a makeover of the well-known rhymes on the alphabet. Associates are a group you may not have heard of, but with groups like the Smiths (who composed the Associate tribute song 'William it was Really Nothing') the Cure (Michael Dempsey, Cure Bassist, toured with the live outfit) and Yello (Associates lead singer Billy MacKenzie worked quite often with Boris Blank--the working vocal line of the Rhythm Divine was sung by MacKenzie for Shirley Bassey's benefit), Associates should be more widely known. Affectionate Punch is one of their best."
Bow Down Before The Associates
A. Hamilton | Alexandria, VA USA | 08/15/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"You'll only be reading this if you've heard some of the Associates stuff, so I just have to say that this album is just as exotically weird and truely wonderful as anything else they did. Billy Mackenzie's voice is operatic, stirring, and arresting, like Sydney Opera House turned into a cop shop. And he's not let down by the music. The guitars, piano, bagpipes, and whatever else they threw into the mix make a sound just as unique as the singer's. Together, they define songs that could fill dance floors ('The Affectionate Punch', 'Would I... Bounce Back', etc), others ('Logan Time', 'Transport to Central') that could accompany ballet. Five words that describe this album: Uplifting, melodic, timeless, awe-inspiring. Another five words: Just as good as 'Sulk'."