Men at Work

Business as Usual/Cargo [Redhot]

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    9
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This CD combines Men at Work's two hit albums, Business as Usual and Cargo, on one CD. Business as Usual became a surprise international hit on the basis of "Who Can It Be Now?" and "Down Under," two excellent singles that merged straight-ahead pop-rock hooks with a quirky new wave production and an off-beat sense of humor. Colin Hay's keening vocals uncannily recall Sting, and the band's rhythmic pulse and phased guitars also bring to mind a bar-band version of the Police. And that helps make the remainder of Business as Usual enjoyable. There's a fair amount of filler on the record, but "Be Good Johnny," "I Can See It In Your Eyes" and "Down By the Sea" are all fine new wave pop songs, making Business as Usual one of the more enjoyable mainstream-oriented efforts of the era. Cargo was bashed out fairly quickly, but its release was delayed because of the success of Business as Usual. Though it was recorded on the road, Cargo is considerably more diverse -- but not necessarily more ambitious -- than its predecessor. Again, the album is anchored by two extraordinary singles. Fortunately, the soaring ballad "Overkill" and the satiric, anti-nuclear "It's a Mistake" aren't rewrites of "Who Can It Be Now?" and "Down Under," demonstrating more depth than anything on the debut. Despite this growth, the remainder of Cargo is weighed down by filler. "Doctor Heckyll and Mr. Jive" might be goofy fun, and "High Wire" and "Blue for You" are tight pop songs, but the rest are simply pleasant, ocassionally embarrassing ("I Like To," "Settle Down My Boy") new wave pop.

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