This one goes with you to the deserted island or mission to
Beat Clubber | Miami, FL USA | 08/15/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is my very first review on Amazon and I am proud to say that I couldn't live with myself if I didn't start my reviews with the album that started it all for me. THIS IS DEFINITIVELY THE 80's cornerstone in the "New Wave Synth Pop" category that we all love to label. But as you will hear, EVERY song is almost perfectly crafted with a special hand to modern studio musical arrangements with superb technical precision while at the same time it is infused with the utmost warmth and delicateness. The R&B inspired opening track "Doctor Doctor" and the folk sounding feel good but often at the same time tried and weary chain gang anthem "You take me up" set the tone for a rousing musical escapade. It is true that to be a Thompson Twins fan you really have to have a wide open spectrum of musical taste. The over played Mtv generation (which by the way just so proudly happens to be mine), "Hold me now", leaves no pretentiuos or manufactured feelings forced on to us but goes straight to our personal wants and desires on a more intimate and human level, as with the infectious, catchy, but self inquiring "Day after day". Things get sublimely troubled as you hear the lovely and airey "No peace for the wicked", which by the way has great guitar play and wonderful backing vocals. As a teen growing up in the early 80's I can tell you that watching Mtv I was immediately & seductively attracted to their unique sound. What made my love for TT even that more powerful was the fact that they also delved into the New Wave Alternative dance forray scene with "Into the Gap". I can tell you that if you listen this by itself (preferebly the Dance Extended Mix),you can see that they are all about the groove and sound. Mixing exotic sounds of the far east with Allanah Curie's percussion arrangement shows the extraordinary sounds that they magically produce,like no other. As a very avid Ministry,ABC,& Smiths,fan I really appreciate Tom Bailey's vocal range and heartfelt cries. Making music that can be played in and out of music clubs is a very unique task in of itself. They have it down packed. Where TT really cemented me as a fan was with the ultra erie and painfully dogma painted of "Sister of mercy" (not be confused with "Lay your hands on me"/Platinum and gold collection cd version which is much to stripped down and slow moving),and the ever ultra surreal flying & semi-consciously awake "Storm on the Sea". This simmers to a close but just enough to provoke your senses with the ever present and metaphysical cry "Who can stop the rain". This album completely withstands any passage of time and will always be the staple TT album. For the few of us that really appreciated unique sounding, groove enchanced, danceable classics along with totally unique ballads this album is it! For me the definitive alternative in post modern "New Wave Synth Pop" masterpiece. There I said it! "
Truly one of the greatest
VertigoXpress | USA | 01/13/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"1984 was truly the "Year of the Thompson Twins". After they appeared on the 1983 MTV New Years Eve ball, where they debuted a new song of theirs called "Hold Me Now", the Thompson Twins were set for world domination. Their album "Quick Step and Side Kick" had already made a big sensation in the United Kingdom and other European countries, but "Into the Gap" was the album that brought them strong success in the United States.
"Into the Gap" has a strange thing going on. On the one hand, it's a beautifully crafted album, carrying forward with the theme of their previous record, which brought together quirky synth sounds with warm bass and percussion. "Into the Gap" focuses even more on the songwriting and arrangement, with stunning results. And yet....it's 2006, and this album seems to only be remembered by 80s purists. Something about it contributed to it being written off as a period piece, forever identified with the 80s.
I can understand why when you take the band's image, which was very cartoonish and "new wave" (whatever that term was supposed to mean). They had weird hair, strange clothes, and Alannah Currie shaved off her eyebrows. On this record, she even had a "mohawk".
But if you would divorce the Thompson Twins from their then-commercial fashion sense, you'd find a gorgeous album in "Into the Gap". Shimmering synths exist alongside intricately-programmed drum patterns and live percussion that give it depth. Timpanis, bells, toms, the full range of percussion is represented here. Even more melodic than "Side Kicks", this album explores a fascination with Eastern cultures and melodies. Check out the opening track, "Doctor! Doctor!", which features a mesmerizing three-chord progression that evokes exotic adventure, repeated throughout the course of the song in varying combinations. This flavor continues throughout the rest of the album, most notably on tracks like "The Gap", an idealistic exhortation against xenophobia, and "Day After Day", which suggested an agnostic point of view that surfaced in other Thompson Twins songs as well.
There are a few other styles on here as well, like the gospel-reggae song "You Take Me Up", but songs like "Sister of Mercy" (the album's weakest point) and "Who Can Stop the Rain" don't have immediate reference points to them, and they seem to best represent the unique sound that the Thompson Twins acheived. The album contains two ballads as well; the haunting "Storm on the Sea", and the international hit "Hold Me Now", which seems to be the one song that everybody will remember them by.
Truthfully, it is debatable what kind of input Alannah Currie and Joe Leeway actually had on the album. You can hear them in a few places here, contributing backup vocals, but both have admitted much later that they had very little to do with the music, and even felt embarassed about their miscellaneous role in the band. Tom Bailey, on the other hand, is the voice of the band and compliments the music beautifully. His voice was never that strong, but could be warm and friendly or haunting and cold. It sometimes seemed to be on the verge of cracking or breaking, which created a great tension in the music, and at other times he sounded more relaxed and confident.
The following Thompson Twins records, which eventually saw the departure of Leeway, were mixed bags, and they wouldn't find this same alchemy again until their final album, "Queer", which still didn't quite recapture the magic here, at their zenith. Still, I find it amazing that the band's legacy hasn't carried on, if only for the sheer quality of their cornerstone albums, "Side Kicks" and "Into the Gap"."
Charming and unique
The Lunar Camel | Ligonier PA | 11/11/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"That's exactly how I remember the Thompson Twins, charming and unique. I was rather an odd creature back in my high school days and I'm sure that the oddity of the Thompson Twins in part drew great appeal for me. However, this album truly started my great interest in the band. I'm still sad that they threw in the hat and that Alannah said she'd never wish again in her life to lay eyes on that old xylophone, however they truly did have something special together back then. I didn't much appreciate anything after "Here's To Future Days" as much as the earlier stuff, but "Into The Gap" will always remain one of my top ten albums of the 80's. "You Take Me Up" have elements that I don't believe have ever been imitated since then. Such uniqueness, they walked their own path and didn't follow the trend at the time, yet they still somehow managed to come out somewhat trendy...on a bizarre unique level. "Hold Me Now" is a classis, as well as "The Gap". One could only hope that they may all reunite one day. What about that show on VH1, maybe they'll pull this old ragamuffin band back together and someone could talk Alannah into dusting off that old xylophone being stored in some closet somewhere. To all those youngins who are diggin through their parents old records and have a curiosity over this band, "Into The Gap" is truly the great starter...if an appreciation can be found with this album, an appreciation can then be found for about all of them on some level."
Still a classic!
Preston | nc | 10/07/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I still love this album! The songs are still in my head. More than just Hold Me Now-the rest of the album is just as superb. Smartly done pop songs with loads of rhythm and catchy choruses. They have some mean funk beds on songs like Into the Gap and No Peace for the Wicked and Who Can Stop The Rain. Doctor, Doctor, while unusual, has some unique pop landscapes. It was the group's finest moment--no other album they did before or after could top this."