When I was really young – as in pre-teen, I found that you could judge a record by its cover pretty easily. For example, I quickly learned that if a cover listed keyboards or synthesizers then it would probably be to my liking. As I got older, the style of the cover art sent out volumes of information. New Wave music had a variety of cover art styles that were highly distinctive and served to cut through the clutter in the bins to attract my interest. Of course that ended around 1980 as old crusty rock stars started changing their spots to attract attention. Your basic Billy Joel and Linda Rondstat faux “new wave” albums. As I then discovered, judging a record by its cover can go either way.
I remember the first time I heard about Vicious Pink. As Vicious Pink Phenomenon, they supplied backing vocals to the classic debut album by Soft Cell. That was in 1981 when they first crossed my radar. It was about four years later when browsing the bins at Orlando’s Murmur Records with my friend Tom, that I saw my first Vicious Pink record. As I pulled the record incredulously from the bin, I laughed as I held it up for Tom to see. Below is the cover.
Vicious Pink: Take Me Now UK 12″
- Take Me Now [ext. ver.]
- I Confess
- Always Hoping
I don’t think that I ever saw a cover as ridiculously crass as that one! Tom guffawed and we put the record back and went about our business. I didn’t think about Vicious Pink after that for years. Surely any record with such a desperately trashy cover couldn’t be worth a damn? Right?
It was some time in the early 90s when I was shopping in Wax ‘n Facts, Atlanta’s premiere record store. I was delving into the bins when I saw a Vicious Pink 12″ single of “Fetish” for $3.00. That was cheap enough to try it out and if it was too ludicrous, then I would only be out a pittance. I played it when I got home and was treated to a magnificent Tony “New Musik” Mansfield electro-trash production of cosmic proportions! The synth bass in particular was just tremendous! It recalled nothing more than prime Cabaret Voltaire patented earthshaker rhythms. I mentioned my find to my friend Sandra and she asked me if I ever saw another copy of the record to snag one for her. Unfortunately, these records didn’t seem to grow on trees and I still haven’t seen that second copy.
It was shortly later at an “Old Wave” dance night at local club Visage that I finally heard “Take Me Now.” That did it. I was now hooked. I was fortunate enough to run across a mint copy of the Canadian only compilation LP by the group at a record show. I then spent the next 15 or so years buying all of the singles and variations of both Vicious Pink as well as Vicious Pink Phenomenon records to amass a full collection of all of their tracks. Since the collection is all in house it’s in “lockdown” for a REVO remaster package. All I need now is the time. At this juncture, it’s relevant to think that I blew off Vicious Pink for many years because I saw the 12″ of “Take Me Now” in a record store and thought “that record must be a piece of crass trash!” Well, it was…but it was great crass trash!
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