So this is a concept album about America in the 60s and the Kennedy administration – so far, so cliched, many people have written and sung about this and it is almost a form of shorthand for stylishness… The Wedding Present, The Rolling Stones, they’ve all done it…
But ooh ma goodness, EO take this concept quite far…and then some!
EO are originally from Warrington and have gone through a few changes and a couple of albums, now morphing into some kind of mutant disco electro garage dark monster.
First track ‘Boy In Uniform’ is a definite nod to ‘I Love A Boy in Uniform’ by Gang of Four, militaristic imagery over a dance-stomp, highly-processed beats and vocals.
“Eyesore” continues in the same vein, good God the vocals sound like Nick Cave snorting helium, what is going on here – there’s also a very definite libretto-type feel about it, like it could transfer to the West End, why not? This channels (apparently) Lyndon Johnson – 1960 was not a good year.
The album covers some best-forgotten corners of the Kennedy dynasty, ‘Rosemary’ the forgotten Kennedy sister, oh dear.
And all the while the beats fall fast, it is relentless – fair play to EO, they have really put their all into this.
‘Inauguration’ takes John F’s speech (1961? – “ask not what your country can do for you…etc”) as the backdrop to a muscular guitar workout, it’s pretty heavy.
‘Madame Defarge’ is a rant against the dynasty, while ‘Bobby’ is a more reflective musing on the other brother – it helps to know a bit of history on this album. The grappling for power, its use and abuse, in a semi-modern age, is narrated effectively, with darn good tunes and pithy lyrics – they do remind me of someone, dammit, is it The Rapture possibly, mixed with a bit of Roxy Music?
It’s probably more like a song cycle, and it is pretty effective – it could indeed be a musical, David Byrne’s opus on the Marcos couple did okay, I think.
And of course Tricky Dicky has the last word, ‘Nixon 68’…
Recommended, but it takes some staying power, like Dicky.