Klark Kent: Away From Home – US – Green 7″ 
- Away From Home
- 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.
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.
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.
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!
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.