01. Still On Fire
Roddy Frame and his ever-changing band of musicians known
as Aztec Camera made their first record in 1981, when Frame was a mere 17 years
old. After two releases on the Scottish indie label Postcard, the band signed
to Rough Trade, where they released their debut album High Land, Hard Rain
and two minor hit singles, Oblivious and Walk Out to Winter.
The success of their full-length debut brought the band to the attention
of major label WEA, who re-issued Oblivious in late 1983. The single cracked
the UK top twenty second time around, but was followed by almost a year's
silence, while Frame recruited a new band and recorded a second album, Knife.
The band's ultra-cool indie following was largely unimpressed by the choice
of producer, namely Mark Knopfler of the steadfastly unhip Dire Straits, and
the album was not a huge success. In retrospect, though, Knife is, while
deeply flawed, a thoughtful and largely likable set of tunes. There are three
killer songs, "Still on Fire," "Just Like the
USA" and the sublime "All
I Need Is Everything," a lovely, yearning tune based on a hypnotic guitar
riff and featuring possibly the best chorus of Frame's career. Slightly below
that fine triumvirate are "The Birth of the True" and the stirring "Backwards
and Forwards," which both recall the pretty but slightly strident ballads
of Frame's early career, and the peppier "Head Is Happy (Heart's Insane)," all
of which are perfectly respectable tunes.
Influences / Similar Artists:
Wild Swans, Orange Juice, Pale Fountains , Ocean Blue