Retro Cassette Friday

Cassette 002-001We’ve declared Friday ‘retro cassette day’ in the OUTinPerth office. Each week we’re going to insert five cassettes into our trusty TEAC cassette player and review five albums from the past. We hope you discover or re-discover some gems of days gone by.

Agnetha Faltskog, Wrap Your Arm Around Me

Polar Music, 1983

You really want to former lead vocalist of ABBA to be great, but solo albums from both Agnetha and Frida never really satisfy. This is the first of five English solo albums Agnetha has released; the fifth arrived just this month. Opening track and lead single ‘The Heat Is On’ is a tropical number. ‘Can’t Shake Loose’ is rockier than ABBA ever was while ‘Stay’ is a laid back ballad. The albums title track was its second single and it has a nice Balearic quality, this could be slipped into a set on Connections terrace easily.


Cocteau Twins, Blue Bell Knoll

4AD, Released 1988

‘Blue Bell Knoll’ was the fifth album from this Scottish alternative band that was together from 1979 – 1997. This is the album where the band really started to get some international exposure.  The best thing about the Cocteau Twins is the ethereal vocals of Elizabeth Fraser, best known for her vocals on the Massive Attack tune ‘Teardrop’. Who knows what she’s singing about, but it all sounds beautiful. The songs titles are great too, ‘The Itchy Glowbo Blow’, ‘Suckling the Mender’, ‘Spooning Good Singing  Gum’ and ‘Ella Megalast Burls Forever’.


Bill Withers, Still Bill

A&M, 1972

‘Still Bill’ was the second of eight albums made by soul singer Bill Withers whose career spanned from 1971 – 1985. You immediately wonder what Bill’s been doing for the last 28 years, as he’s still with us. This album features three of his biggest hits ‘Use Me’, ‘Who Is HeAnd What Is He To You’ and the feel good ‘Lean on Me’. The rest of the tracks are stellar featuring wah-wah guitar galore. It’s surprising that given how much Withers has been sampled and covered by dance artists that more of the album tracks haven’t been mined for hits, ‘Take It All In An Check It All Out’ is ripe to be remade.


Erasure, Wild

Mute, 1989

Erasure have released fourteen albums since they formed in 1986, this album was their fourth. The duo of former Yazoo and Depeche Mode member Vince Clarke and out and proud singer Andy Bell specialise in perfect electro pop. This albums starts of with the classically tinged instrumental of ‘Piano Song’ before dropping you in a gay disco for ‘Blue Savannah’, ‘Drama’ and the super catchy ‘Star’. The inside over of the cassette features some great photos by Pierre et Gilles, who specialised in homo-erotic photography.

The Smiths, The World Won’t Listen

Rough Trade, 1987

This compilation of singles and b-sides was released in early 1987, six months before The Smiths broke up. The great things about The Smiths are the songs are short and fast, the lyrics are intriguing and the jangly guitar of Johnny Marr is front and centre. Pretty much nothing guitarist Marr or front man Morrissey have done since the band split is held in such high regard as their time together. Highlights are ‘Shakespeare’s Sister’, ‘Bigmouth Strikes Again’ and the iconic ‘There Is A Light That Never Goes Out’ – a love song about a car crash.

Graeme Watson

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