China Crisis

Working with Fire and Steel: Possible Pop Songs, Vol. 2

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China Crisis main men Gary Daly and Eddie Lundon were great songwriters searching for that one song that would make a difference. "Working with Fire and Steel" was that song. Although they had hits before, and they would have hits after, no other song defined China Crisis' essence more. With its percolating beat, Daly's hiccupping vocals, and a smashing chorus, it was the perfect modern pop song. With that said, there was also so much more to China Crisis than that one song. This, their sophomore album, features songs cut from the same cloth as "...Fire and Steel," including "Animals in Jungles" and "Hanna Hanna," but also reveals a band with deeper meaning and ambitious ideas. Lundon's sweet backing vocals (and lead vocals on the pretty "Wishful Thinking" and "When the Piper Calls") balance out the quirkiness of Daly's voice, creating a perfect combination. Although they were pigeonholed as a 'synth pop' band, China Crisis was much more. All that mattered to them was the song, and this album is chock full of intelligent, well-written pop songs. Producer Mike Howlett added much to the sonic blend, allowing the melodies to shine while toughening up the band's sound (the addition of a full-time drummer and bassist helped to thicken the sound as well). Even the softer moments, like "Here Comes a Raincloud," and "The Soul Awakening" are full of life and excitement. Apart from their own matured sound on this release, there are traces of rock, pop, and jazz floating between the lines. It was only a matter of time before they were compared to Steely Dan. But that came on the next album....

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