Ah the 80’s. I was born during this decade, however I was not that coherent. Kings of the Wild Frontier (1980) by Adam & the Ants is a tremendously good album. Personally, I am a big fan of this era of music. The style of music in the 80’s has always been enjoyable. The style I am referring to is New Wave, not hair metal (no offense). From open to close, this album had me listening in. I even stopped doing anything else but listening. The use of drums and guitar strums accompany lead singer Adam Ants continuous voice. He never stops, and I do not mind. The big musical part of this album is the percussion. It is varied and prevalent. The guitar is also present, but I felt it was behind the drums. Of course, nothing could be more stand-out than Adam Ant’s voice.
The first stand out track on this album is the opening number, “Dog Eat Dog.” It is fast tempo song that actually starts out with a swing-like drum roll., and then the guitar kicks in. The guitar is mainly a couple of strums. It is not continuous but comes in strong. To further this swing connection is Adam Ant’s use of “Daddy-o.” I can see some good ol’ boys and girls dancing away to this track. The next stand out track is “Killer in the Home.” Once again, the song starts with a drum roll, then the guitar strumming, and then the voice. But, there is a bass undertone that sneaks in when Adam Ant is not singing. This bass line carries the rhythm. The track is somewhat haunting when you really listen to the lyrics. However, as I’m writing this, I have repeated the song 4 times.
The title track really brings all the unique aspects of this album into one cohesive track. Adam Ant’s voice is still the most prevalent part of the song, but the drums are heavy, and the guitar keep sneaking in and out, until the couple of parts when everything explodes together. When these parts play, I find myself closing my eyes and trying to hear everything. I want to hear every little piece of the song. The rest of the album is as fun as the previous tracks. In “The Magnificent Five” there are some harder guitar parts, kind of grungy. Recalls a thing a friend of mine said, that Adam and the Ants really paved the way for new music, they tried new things that everyone started doing. I can hear it, and if you don’t believe me, just listen to “Physical (You’re So). The most fun track off of King of the Wild Frontier is “Don’t Be Square (Be There).” “Antmusic for sex people, sex music for Antpeople.” The song sounds like the band is just having fun jamming. The playful guitar strums adds to the merriment.
To end this post I will say that Adam Ant is as unique as his music. Pirate wave is what I’m calling this CD and it is because of Mr. Ant (“Jolly Roger” really is pirate music, I swear). As he sings in “Don’t Be Square (Be There),” “You might not like it now, but you will.” So, get the CD, download Spotify, whatever, listen to it. Favorite album of the list so far, by far.
Track List (U.S. release not UK)
Next Week: Cocteau Twins – Heaven or Las Vegas