I put the needle on the groove and type out the review of a band I’ve never heard before.
The Random Record
“Platinum Hook” by Platinum Hook.
Another find in the Oxford Music shop in Stockbridge, Edinburgh.
Side One / Track One: Bittersweet (Greg Wright-Ronnie Vann)
Yes. Those synths sound like those moustaches, for sure. This is like going to Sonic the Hedgehog’s uncle’s wedding reception in both sound and embarassment at quite enjoying myself.
“Stick this in your ear, baby”
Subtle opening line.
Yeah I like this. The bass has a cool chirpy wah effect – it’s like a blippy, happy little scooter chugging its way through the song. Look, I’m not a music journalist so you best get used to phrase like that.
Crickey, there’s some pretty egregious synths on the go here. The keyboard player spent a lot of money on that synthesiser and dammit he’s going to twiddle all the knobs whether the song needs it or not.
Ok so reading the credits this song isn’t written by anyone in the band. Perhaps leading with a song they didn’t write is a bait/switch tactic? Let’s see…
Oh there’s a very gospel-tinged organ creeping into the outro. It’s a pretty colourful collection of sounds that sits nicely together. Busy instrumentation but not too overwhelming.
Side One / Track Two: Hotline (Wuilliam Talbert-Tyrone Steels-Edward Lattiomre)
Oh that’s a harsh transition considering this is the smoothest of smooth intros. I feel a sax is about to enter the story… Oh but I do much prefer this instrumentation.There’s space in the song to actually hear the instruments.
Here’s a fundamental truth of the universe: The fewer elements happening at the one time, the better. When applied to music the fwer number of sounds, the bigger they sound If you want to make an instrument sound impressive, give it space to sound impressive.
Oh wait I’ve read the credits properly: “PRODUCED AND ARRANGED BY GREG WRIGHT.”
I totally can’t tell what the backing singers are singing though. Might just be the vinyl which is pretty worn. Somebody spun this over and over and over.
Ah I like the descending bridge: simple bass stepping down the scale and pianos tinkling away at the top end.
SEXUAL GUITAR SOLO INCOMING!
PULL YOUR “O” FACE!
BITE THAT BOTTOM LIP!
HIPS ARE THRUSTING (presumably)!
Yeah I like this track too. It’s got a slower rumbling beat and has a cool (80s walking around a city at night in the rain) cinematic quality to it.
Another fade out… I should really research if fade outs are more prevalent in vinyl recordings due to space constraints.
Side One / Track Three: ‘Til I Met You (Robert Douglas-Stan Foster)
Oh hello, Mr Sax. I thought you were showing up in the last song. Oh yes, Mr Sax, I see you there, you can stop doing that now…
This song feels generic in every way. Like you could buy it out of Disco/Soul Ballad IKEA and assemble it yourself. There’s no real dynamic or control. No real craftsman skills required. It’s a slush of bits of music happening in sequence.
Ah, I see this song was written by the keyboard player. Though I don’t really hear any keyboards… Maybe he wrote this one so he could leave the stage and comb his moustache.
I reckon he’s the second from the left.
Oh finally this turgid track fading out…
Side One / Track Four: Standing on the Verge (of Getting it on) (George Clinton-Grace Cook)
Funk yeah! Super Tight brass opening! Tightly syncopated lyrics to the brass section with some subtle chicken-scratch guitar and bass/synth to back it all up.
Oh god this so much better. A nice showcase for the horn section and a chunky riff that reminds me of the main theme to Cowboy Bebop (cos I am nerdo).
The title of the song does sound — hang on a woman just said something in a southern cowboy accent — anyway, the title sounds like a Blood Hound Gang title. Relevant 90s reference.
Hmmm… do something different now song, you’re basically repeating the same 40 seconds and getting looser each time…
Ok this is moving “There’s a song(soul?) out tonight, yo, c’mon”. It’s won me back. Apparently I’m really fickle and you can lose this *points to booty* if you get lazy.
Yes, finally some quality funky giutar and bass “me time”. Oh and really nice subtle flanger effect on the guitar too.
Aaaahhhhh, this song was written by George Clinton. That explains why it’s so good. This makes sense.
Ok fading out on Side 1… Bittersweet and Standing on the Verge were good. I’ve already forgotten Tracks 2 & 3. Good work, brain, thanks for not cluttering up the place with the non-essentials.
Side Two / Track One – Hooked for Life (Robert Douglas)
Ok I won’t lie. I’ve not gone immediately onto Side Two. I fell down a brief YouTube hole culminating in this (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkBSOapmJpc). So yeah, enjoy that later. Some great Star Wars facts in there. The Machete Cut is the way forward.
Anyway, onto Track One!
Side Two / Track One – Hooked for Life (Robert Douglas)
This sounds like a rubbish Children’s TV Show intro; something about a group of kids who fight bad guys in space with their dinosaur friends by playing stodgy music.
Very similar vibe to Track 1, Side 1, to be fair. It’s still too busy but I am enjoying parts of it. Parts. Not the whole.
Ha. Totally arbitrary stop/start after the chorus there. Why not? Well it totally gutted the flow. Silly choice.
Yeah I think my opinion of Platinum JHook is that there are too many people in the band and the songs are too busy as a result. It’s well performance but there’s no sense of purpose/direction.
Ha. I though it was fading out but it was me only me yawning and stretching.
Side Two / Track Two – Lover What You’ve Done (To Me) (Tina Renee Stanford)
Oh good grief. Am I playing Side 1 again? This sounds like the other smooth nonsence I’ve already heard.
Ok the chorus with the big bass/piano has it’s moments. Ugh, but the rest is the usual wash of strings, tinkling piano doodles and meandering acoustic guitars.
Yup this song has one good riff in the chorus. Again, it’s because the riff is a few instruments playing together with purpose. The rest of the song is people filling space with sounds.
Side Two / Track Three – Gotta Find a Woman (Stephen Daniels-Victor Jones-Robert Douglas)
Why is this song starting with jungle sounds? Are those vocals sounding like a monkey? I’m intrigued.. kind of. It’s slightly odd and sci fi- oh no wait, it’s some kind of funk/calypso?
“Gotta Find A Woman,
Gotta Be a Lady”
The lyrics are rubbish but at least I can understand them this time.
Yes this is getting closer back towards the better tracks I’ve heard so far although I feel like I’m still exploiring the lows of this record.
“Sunshine is you.
Sunshine is you.
Sunshine is yoooooooooooooooouuuuuuuuuu BAH!”
I think Platinum Hook might be my example of a band who can play their instruments but can’t play any songs. Soul music with no real soul.
I’m drifting off and thinking about other things now… I might go see the new Bond film later.
Oh no, jungle sound bit, don’t play again and think I care. I don’t care anymore.
Side Two / Track Four- City Life (Greg Wright-Karin Petterson)
Electro-Motown. Ragtime piano intro and shouty vocals. Promising start… Don’t screw it up now…
And again we’re off and running into a cluttered arrangement of everyone play something at the same time —
Actually the verse is holding back. Rolling bass lines and synth stabs. I like it.
Goddamnit, Platinum. Keep it tight! This chorus is sloppy. or maybe it’s the pre-chorus.
Haha. No idea what that build/climax was meant to be. But we’re back into the verse which I dig.
I feel like a Dance Instructor – bear with me – standing at the side of a stage watching dancers who I now can dance flail their body parts around the stage ignoring me while I yell “KEEP IT TOGETHER! NO! IN TIME TO THE MUSIC PLEASE!”
“Minor hit”. Sounds about right.
Platinum are best when they’re playing very little. Sadly their best just isn’t very good, and the best tracks weren’t written by the band. Best feature of the band?: