Record Review: Klark Kent – “Away From Home” US 7″

klark kent away from home cover art
I.R.S. Records | US | 7″ | 1980 | IR 9012

Klark Kent: Away From Home – US – Green 7″ [1980]

  1. Away From Home
  2. Office Talk

I can’t believe I’ve never reviewed this record but it has been a much-loved piece in my Record Cell for over 40 years! I was sitting at home on a Saturday night in 1980, ready for the weekly ritual of “rock videos” courtesy of Rockworld, and one week I saw the video for “Away From Home” as performed by Klark Kent! The single was electric New Wave as performed by the titular artist; rumored to be Stewart Copeland of The Police.

The video was tremendous, goofy fun at a time when “fun” was a concept that was beginning to drain copiously out of the musical corpus of The Police as vocalist Sting began asserting his dominance as a Smoldering Rock God and all around Deep Thinker™. This record, in dramatic contrast, was a zany song about leaving home for the first time and oh, the fun we’ll have doing it.

The possibly 8mm shot clip was full of pixilated hijinx with the artiste playing all of the guitars, synths, and drums in the song while wearing a black trench and a stovepipe top hat, white gloves, and Sting’s famous yellow and black shirt. The clip actually recalled some early Residents videos I saw afterward, like “Third Reich N’ Roll” in its undercranked twitchiness.

The slicker, US version of the Kryptone Records logo on the label

Which perfectly suited the highly kinetic music. Which was all circular rondos of syncopated guitar, drums, and synths that formed a Mobius loop of New Wave pop save for the very brief, two bar Acid Rock middle eight solo included for irony’s sake before that was shoved out of the way to make room for the New Wave mantra of the incessant theme. A late in the game New Wave classic!

The B-side was completely different. It was a long [7:12] instrumental jam that sounded like the demo for one of Copeland’s two songs accepted for that year’s Police album, the delightful “Bombs Away.” The descending/ascending guitar hook was virtually unchanged from one to the other. It began with a tape of what sounded like secretaries having a coffee klatsch then the zippy tempo kicked in and what sounded remarkably just like The Police [having more fun] burbled out of the speakers.

The ladies were conversing at various points throughout the track as it finally switched gears for some new melodic development at 5:37 with solos by guitar and piano. With most Klark Kent songs clocking in at the three minute mark, this was practically a Prog Opus. But had it been edited down, it might have sat uncomfortably close to “Bombs Away,” so we’ll indulge the artiste.

The 1980 vintage I.R.S. Records “rainbow” logo beloved by old guys like me

I loved the transparent green vinyl common to all Klark Kent UK 7″ singles properly brought to America for this single’s release on I.R.S. Records at the late point in their early development, where they were still using the “rainbow kidnappers note” logo of their first year or two. It looks like a lime green lollypop and it takes willpower not to try tasting it.

A+M Records | JPN | LP | 1980 | AMP-28012

Unfortunately, once the 10″ album and the four singles reached our ears in the ’78-’80 period, that was it for Klark Kent’s brief but zesty lifespan. For possible reasons of copyright infringement, all of the Japanese editions of the eight track album were under the name of “Klerk Kant” as this Japanese LP reveals. I bought the 1991 Japanese CD of this title; a treasured disc in my Record Cell, though such is my ardor for all things Klark Kent that I actually have four copy variants of the eight track album! Nothing beats the original I.R.S. US copy on 10″ green vinyl in a 12″ die-cut sleeve with the best hype sticker of all time!

sheer genius…!

If you ever see Klark Kent records out in the wild, you must buy them! Until that day, here’s a not very useful short film about Klark Kent from Ben DeHoedt to tide you over.


About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
This entry was posted in Record Review and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Record Review: Klark Kent – “Away From Home” US 7″

  1. McRonson says:

    Aw, Klark Kent…! I LOVED everyone of his/their singles. Please tell me you’ve seen the Don’t Care performance on the U.K.’s Top of The Pops (TOTP)? Priceless; the whole band in Richard Nixon masks. A great three track E.P. (for younger readers, this means “Extended Play”). KK was awesome!


    • postpunkmonk says:

      McRonson – No! I’ve not seen that TOTP performance, though I have the single you reference! I still need the “Rich In A Ditch” green 7” even though it didn’t have any non-LP B-side… just to sate the collector’s sickness.


  2. thxdave says:

    An early video for my collection but I can’t remember if it came from Hollywood Heartbeat or Rockworld. Sucks that I didn’t get the opening few seconds. Also, I could have sworn that there was another green single shaped like the letter “K” but memory fails me. Do you remember this? I still have my green 10″. Dave


  3. the RAHB! says:

    The sheer “young bachelor” joy of Away From Home never fails to bring a solid Joker grin to my face, e’en after more than 40 years. Very few things (Cheap Trick’s “Surrender” being one happy co-defendent, D&A’s “Thorn in My Side” another) have managed this level of near-infinite, never waning re-listenability. The biggest difference being that pretty much EVERYTHING ever emitted under the Kl[ae]rk K[ea]nt nom-de-plum meets this rarified standard, while Surrender is the only such Cheap Trick tune, and I honestly can’t think of another Eurythmics song which has stood this harsh test of thyme quite so well either.
    I entertain my rancid date
    And she can hang around ’til late!
    Oh BOY!
    God love that man!


    • postpunkmonk says:

      the RAHB! – I wondered if I should mention you in this post…how this song was your theme tune for fleeing the nest! I always associate it with you, ’tis true! And now I have! But you are true about the wonder that was Klark Kent…and “Surrender,” for that matter! The latter tune is the best Pop Rock song from the second half of the 70s. I’ve heard everybody from local bands I can’t even remember to Cheap Trick themselves perform it and it’s utterly bulletproof! And yes, it always brings a good mood along for the ride!


  4. drskridlow says:

    “…as vocalist Sting began asserting his dominance as a Smoldering Rock God and all around Deep Thinker™. Genius. Thank you for that. :-)


  5. Gavin says:

    I have never even heard of this ! Strange,as I like Copeland.
    The single sounds great,I will investigate.I see the 10″ fetches quite a price now.


    • postpunkmonk says:

      Gavin – Ho HO! You are in for a treat, sir! I had trouble finding one for the longest time, so chasinvictoria found the UK 10″ at Wax N’ Facts in Atlanta when he lived there in 1981-2 and he graciously sent me my first copy. But I bought three more copies on my own over the years! The CD is the priciest one! And I never again saw a UK 10″ version.


  6. Bridget says:

    How great!!!! I did not hear this back then but can really hear Stewart’s influence on early Police in this song. Stewart (his whole family) are an interesting bunch. He was what one would call an ex-pat American. Being an ex-pat myself right now and growing up in a military family, I understand at a visceral level some of things he says and does….there is quite an influence on your ‘American-ness’ when you live overseas. Thanks for posting the video of “Away from Home.” Such a fun, fun, fun song!! As I look back, I think that’s what I miss most about this type of music – it was just fun – the music, the lyrics, the dancing, the listening, all of it. Fun!


    • postpunkmonk says:

      Bridget – Thanks go to txhdave who provided the video. You know, it doesn’t get much more fun that this song. If it hadn’t been for Rockworld showing the video, I might have missed this too. I don’t think I ever heard Klark Kent on even college radio back then. Though what we think of as college radio took a while to gel. It was really happening by 1981; a year after Klark Kent hung up his top hat.


  7. critterjams says:

    I actually spotted the 10″ at a local shop. One of the few times scouring the boxes under the shelves actually produced something worthwhile. Unfortunately I got to know this stuff via the “Kollected Works” CD (which I downloaded) and a lot of my favorite songs weren’t on it. Oh well.

    If you like this stuff, I would recommend Copeland’s recent band Gizmodrome – with Adrian Belew, Mark King, and a member of PFM on board they got marketed as a “prog supergroup”, but really this is just Klark Kent with a better band. The live record, released last year, is particularly good. They play some of Stew’s Police tunes, some 80s King Crimson, and even “Excesses” from this record. It’s a blast!!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.