Close to the Bone (Thompson Twins album)
|Close to the Bone|
|Studio album by|
|Released||31 March 1987|
|Genre||Alternative rock, new wave, synthpop|
|Producer||Rupert Hine, Tom Bailey|
|Thompson Twins chronology|
|Singles from Close to the Bone|
Close to the Bone is the sixth studio album by the British pop group Thompson Twins, released by Arista in March 1987. Now only the duo of Tom Bailey and Alannah Currie remaining, this was the first album the group made without Joe Leeway. It was produced by Bailey and Rupert Hine.
Ending their run of Top 5 albums in the UK, the album was a commercial failure, peaking at number 90 in the UK and failing to yield any hit singles. It fared a little better in the US, peaking at number 76 on the Billboard Top 200, with the single "Get That Love" reaching number 31 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The album has been re-issued as part of the 2012 set Original Album Classics, which featured the albums In the Name of Love, Quick Step and Side Kick, Into the Gap, Here's to Future Days and Close to the Bone.
The Thompson Twins took a break from music in 1986. Following Joe Leeway's departure from the band, Bailey and Currie experienced the loss of their unborn child due to a miscarriage (Currie had also lost her mother the same year). Eventually, "to have something positive to do," the pair bought an old house in Ireland, moved in with Bailey's collection of religious objects and Currie's collection of first editions by British poet Edith Sitwell and forgot about music altogether. When Currie felt like returning to music again, the pair started working on the next Thompson Twins album as a duo.
Much of Close to the Bone reflected Bailey and Currie's personal experiences following Leeway's departure from the band. This included Bailey's reunion with his parents, who had disowned him over a decade before, and Currie suffering a miscarriage and losing her mother on the same day. Speaking of the song "Long Goodbye", Currie said: "I spent all of last summer crying. It was an awful time, and I put a lot of my feelings into that song. It was like a parting gift. It's all OK now. I'm OK. But I still can't bear to listen to that song." Speaking to the Deseret News, Currie added: "I spent the whole summer grieving. This album came out of that. The songs are like your own children. They take on a life of their own. They all have different sorts of moods."
Speaking of the album to the Chicago Tribune, Bailey said: "We felt that this album was a little rawer, a little closer to the truth, than anything we had done before. Sometimes it was uncomfortable because we did this album very, very quickly, thinking that if we didn't take a lot of time, we wouldn't be tempted to cover our personalities and polish everything. The reason the album is closer to the bone is that for the first time in years we had taken a break from the music business and we actually had real experiences that we wanted to write about. When you tour all the time, things can become so circular and one-dimensional. I never realized it before, but taking time away for whatever reason is great for your songwriting."
A full American tour was a major part of the album's promotion, which included concerts in almost 50 cities. The last official concert was to be in Dallas, Texas, in August 1987, however the band went on to play two extra shows afterwards, with the last being in South Florida. As previous tours had involved highly theatrical staging courtesy of Leeway, Bailey and Currie chose to focus on the music rather than the effects for the Close to the Bone tour. Close to the Bone proved to be the last Thompson Twins record promoted by a tour. The songs performed live from the Close to the Bone album were "Get That Love", "Gold Fever", "Twentieth Century", "Long Goodbye", "Follow Your Heart", "Bush Baby" and "Perfect Day".
|Hi-Fi News & Record Review||favourable|
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide (1992 Edition)|||
|The Spokesman-Review (USA)|||
Upon release, Billboard felt that "Get That Love" had commercial appeal, but commented the album "lacks any strong follow-ups". They also felt "Bush Baby" had "novelty appeal" and considered "Dancing in Your Shoes" catchy. The Spokesman-Review said: "Producer Rupert Hine has turned Close to the Bone into the slickest Thompson Twins album ever, and group members Tom Bailey and Alannah Currie have responded with their most facile songwriting. This means that the music is often catchy but rarely substantial." Fred Dellar of Hi-Fi News & Record Review considered the album to be a "heavily dance-oriented release" and singled out "Dancing in Your Shoes", "Gold Fever" and "Get That Love" as having "the hooks and looks of hits". He added: "...judged on pure pop appeal, Close to the Bone isn't at all a bad album."
Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic retrospectively wrote: "By the time the Thompson Twins recorded Close to the Bone they had abandoned new wave synth-pop for light funk-inflected dance-pop. Most of Close to the Bone is too sterile and predictable to be truly enjoyable, yet there are a handful of tracks that serve as a reminder that the group can turn out well-constructed and catchy pop songs when they choose." Ira Robbins of Trouser Press felt the album was "modest and, for the most part, likable", adding: "Currie's lyrics take a surprisingly reflective approach here, suggesting doubt and anxiety instead of the usual oblique contemplations."
- "Follow Your Heart" – 3:54
- "Bush Baby" – 4:10
- "Get That Love" – 4:00
- "Twentieth Century" – 4:01
- "Long Goodbye" – 4:22
- "Still Waters" – 3:36
- "Savage Moon" – 4:40
- "Gold Fever" – 4:03
- "Dancing in Your Shoes" – 4:25
- "Perfect Day" – 4:27
|Canadian Albums Chart||71|
|New Zealand Albums Chart||46|
|Norwegian Albums Chart||20|
|Swedish Albums Chart||26|
|UK Albums Chart||90|
|US Top Pop Albums (Billboard)||76|
- Thompson Twins
- Tom Bailey – keyboards, lead vocals, guitars, bass, programming
- Alannah Currie – percussion, backing vocals, drums, marimba, xylophone, art direction
- Additional Personnel
- Griff Fender – backing vocals
- Pikey Butler – backing vocals
- The Mint Juleps – backing vocals
- Jamie West-Oram – guitar
- Geoff Dugmore – drums
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- AllMusic review
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