Men at Work's sophomore effort trumps the debut
Terrence J. Reardon | Lake Worth (a west Palm Beach suburb), FL | 02/02/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Australian based rockers Men At Work's second album entitled Cargo was was released in May of 1983.
At the time of its release, Men at Work had just won a Best New Artist Grammy and their debut album Business as Usual was still in the US Top Ten and selling very well on its way to six million copies in US sales.
With lightning success, guitarist/singer/songwriter Colin Hay, guitarist Ron Strykert, bass player John Rees, sax player/keyboard player Greg Ham and drummer Jerry Speiser went back to the studio and had to deliver an album that was either as good as its predecessor or better. Would this album be great as their phenomenal debut or crummy, read on and find out (as I did when I first got this album on cassette in July of 1983 when I was 7).
The sound effects and bells lead into the whimsical opening Top 30 hit "Dr Heckyll and Mr Jive". This new wave rocker is a funny song about a nutty professor who turns into a casanova after drinking a potion but is a classic. Next is the album's first single, the creepy US Top 10 hit "Overkill". The track is a classic song and a great rocker which included Ham's classic soprano sax solo and Colin Hay's great guitar solo. Next, Ron Strykert steps out with his vocal debut on "Settle Down My Boy" which is a great number. On this remaster, this song is extended to have its full ending which prematurely faded on the original record and cassette versions. The rocker "Upstairs in My House" is next and is another great rocker. The first half closes with the 6 minute epic entitled "No Sign Of Yesterday" which is possibly Men at Work's greatest song ever. This epic is hard to put into words, awesome. The ending is extended on this remaster where it prematurely faded on the original album to be 5 minutes and 50 seconds, it is extended by 30 plus seconds here as CDs can hold more music than vinyl could.
The album's second half kicks off with the album's second US Top 10 hit and the anti-nuclear anthem "It's A Mistake" which is a great number. This track is a classic and is also extended on this remaster. Next is the album's third single "High Wire" which unfortunately tanked and there was video for this track but is a great song. The laid-back "Blue For You" is next and is a little breather before the last two frantic paced closing tracks. "I Like To" is next and has Greg Ham on lead vocals and is a great fast-paced new wave rocker with great guitar work from Strykert (who penned the track). We end the album with the classic entitled "No Restrictions" which is another great song and unfortunately turned out to be the swan song of the original lineup.
Cargo when originally released reached #4 on the Billboard album charts and sold yet another FOUR MILLION COPIES here Stateside (which was close to equalling the debut's SIX MILLION in US sales). Sadly the album turned out to be the swan song with John Rees and Jerry Speiser whom both quit the band in 1984. They did one more album out of 1985's Two Hearts but Ron Strykert quit mid-way through and the band split thereafter.
In 2003, Cargo was re-released in digitally remastered form on CD with FIVE BONUS TRACKS which were the humorous "Shintaro" and the mostly instrumental "Till The Money Runs Out" plus a live reading of "Upstairs in My House" and two further live tracks, the reggae sounding "Fallin' Down" and "The Longest Night" which were on a long out of print Men at Work concert video.
Cargo is recommended!"