Close to the Bone (Thompson Twins album)
|Close to the Bone|
|Studio album by Thompson Twins|
|Released||31 March 1987|
|Genre||Alternative, New wave, Synthpop|
|Producer||Rupert Hine and Tom Bailey|
|Thompson Twins chronology|
Close to the Bone is the sixth album by the British pop group Thompson Twins, and was released in March 1987. Now only the duo of Tom Bailey and Alannah Currie remaining, this was the first album the Thompson Twins made without Joe Leeway. Produced by Bailey and Rupert Hine, the band commented that they wrote and recorded the album quickly, in an exercise to see how fast they could produce a complete LP.
Ending their run of top 5 albums in the UK, the album was a commercial failure, peaking at number 90 on the UK album charts and failing to yield any hit singles. It fared a little better in the US, peaking at number 76, with the single "Get That Love" peaking at number 31 on the US Billboard Hot 100.
Although the original release of album remains out-of-print, the album was re-issued as part of the 2012 Thompson Twins 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 working again, the pair started on the next album as a duo.
In an issue of The Spokesman-Review from early July 1987, an article/interview with The Thompson Twins was published, based on the band's touring for Close to the Bone. In the issue, the article speaks of the album, stating "The Thompson Twins are riding high on the success of their latest album "Close to the Bone," which, in addition to carrying the hit "Get That Love," delves into Bailey and Currie's personal experiences during the period since their last album, "Here's to Future Days"." Bailey, quoted from a press release, stated "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 to write about." The article also spoke of some of the personal experiences, stating "For Bailey, one of those experiences was being accepted back into the fold by his parents who had disowned him more than 10 years before; for Currie, one of those experiences was the emotional trauma of seeing her mother die, and losing her and Bailey's baby to a miscarriage - both on the same day." Currie also spoke of the experience and putting it into the song "Long Goodbye", stating "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."
The article spoke of the album's other lyrical themes and the meaning of the track "Twentieth Century", writing "Close to the Bone" goes beyond Tom and Alannah's personal experiences, maintaining some of the social and political poignancy for which Currie's lyrics have become known. The track "Twentieth Century," in particular, is an analytical, socio-political statement in the vein that seems more common among British than American groups, but both Currie and Bailey guard against making too much of their lyrics." In relation to this, Bailey stated "I'm wary of placing too much importance upon music as the solution to the world's problems because in one very important sense, it's just entertainment." Revealing that the duo's social and political tone comes from the environment in which they live, Currie stated "You always write about things that affect you. We live close to Northern Ireland and Lebanon, where-as America is in many ways isolated."
In a July 1987 article based on Thompson Twins by The Deseret News, the article quoted Currie in stating that she had resisted writing made-to-order hits, despite record company insistence - or changing the duo's self-styled look, however peculiar. The article also made note of Currie's loss of both her mother and child, where Currie stated "It was awful. 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."
In a 10 May 1987, Chicago Tribune article based on the duo and album, Bailey stated "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." Currie added "We couldn't replace Joe. He's irreplaceable." Bailey stated "Joe's leaving didn`t change our sound at all. His leaving was entirely amicable. Alannah and I had become a very tight songwriting team, and at the risk of sounding immodest, we had become pretty good at it. So Joe was maybe feeling a little edged out. He wanted to do things on his own. Besides, he had fallen in love with someone in Los Angeles, and he wanted to be with her. So they got married and he bought a house and a dog and settled down. We visited Joe and his wife a while back, and he's never been happier. Now he just needs to get a record deal."
A full American tour was a major part of the album's promotion. The tour included almost 50 cities, where the last official date (August 1987) was to be in Dallas, Texas, but after the band had sent the stage show home, they played two extra shows, the last one being in South Florida. An unofficial bootleg version of the Dallas concert has appeared online in recent years. For the tour it was noted in the Chicago Tribune article of May 10, 1987, that Leeway was responsible for staging the band's highly theatrical live shows, with their lighting effects and sets. As a result, Bailey, Currie and the four musicians (two men, two women) who toured with them focused the emphasis on the music rather than the special effects. Close to the Bone was the last Thompson Twins record promoted by a tour. The band did not tour again for subsequent releases.
In the July 1987 article by The Deseret News, Currie responded to the fact that the album and tour had not been selling as well as the last, by stating that it made the concert tour better for the performers. Currie stated "Because we haven't had a massive hit off this album, we haven't had a lot of curious "tourists" (mainstream fans) to the concerts. This time it's the hard-core following."
In a July 1987 review of a Thompson Twins concert at Park West Stage by The Deseret News, the article quoted Currie by stating "Currie, who wrote all the lyrics, describes the new music as very personal and emotional. And while that emotion can be felt on the new album, on stage it doesn't translate. "Long Goodbye" is a moving, almost eerie-sounding ballad on the album. But played live, it didn't pack much emotional power, despite Currie dedicating it to her mother and child, who both died last year. Instead, all the songs performed live sound predictably alike, with similar structure and rhythm, and Bailey commanding all the vocals."
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide (1992 Edition)|||
|The Spokesman-Review (USA)|||
Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic 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."
In a mid-April 1987 review of the album, The Spokesman-Review gave the album two out of four stars, equaling a "fair" rating, whilst stating "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."
In the July 1987 article by The Deseret News, the article told of public reception of the album, stating "Neither the album nor the tour is selling as well as in the last time around. Some local record store employees say customers have termed the album as too "pop," without the variety of the last two albums, "Into the Gap," or "Here's to Future Days".
- "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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