Various Artists

Cabaret Futura: Fools Rush in Where Angels Dare to Tread

  • AllMusic Rating
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

Though it remained in operation for no more than two years, London's Cabaret Futura club left an indelible mark on the U.K. scene of the early '80s. Alongside the better (self)-publicized Billy's, it was there that much of what would soon emerge as the new romantic movement took shape -- there, too, that the later Batcave crowd first coalesced. It stands to reason, then, that any vinyl souvenir of the venue -- particularly one recorded during the very heyday of the Cabaret -- should echo those concerns...right? Wrong. Eschewing contributions from any of the better-known/remembered acts to darken the Cabaret stage, Fools Rush In (its very title is a commentary) concentrates instead on the left field that was the club's bread and butter. True, Positive Noise and Kissing the Pink went some way toward making a major label rumble, while the name of Richard Jobson will instantly thrill anyone with fond memories of the punk-era Skids. Club owner Richard Strange, too, contributes one track to the proceedings. But names and notions are the album's sole concessions to popularity. Jobson serves up two pieces of poetry accompanied by bandmate Russell Webb, but otherwise pointedly avoids any comparisons with the kind of material he was normally associated with; the heavily accented "Daddy" is an adaptation of a Sylvia Plath poem and "India Song," set in the age of British colonialism, raises just one smile with its mocking allusions to Ultravox ("India, it means nothing to me"). Elsewhere, Monkey House Blues serves up a note-perfect xerox of contemporary Talking Heads, all agitated rhythms, quirky vocals, and mutant funk, while the Distractions -- a fairly useful mod revival band two years earlier -- are now reduced to workaday post-power poppisms. Capalula is a performance artist whose live act was both entertaining and intriguing, but really doesn't translate to vinyl alone -- "The Pure Voice" appears to be a collection of novelty snorts and vocal exercises. And Strange's own "Let's Flatten Manhattan" is one of the least impressive songs from his Phenomenal Rise cycle, its inclusion here primarily justified by the fact that he left it off his other two albums. That leaves Everest the Hard Way and Eddie Maelov & Sunshine Patterson to consistently entertain, and they do so with zeal: Everest is edgy new wave cut from the same cloth as the very early Bunnymen and company; Maelov & Patterson want to be the first Velvet Underground album and don't care who knows it. Neither band ever delivered on the promise displayed here but, in a way, that was the point. Unlike so many other compilations, Fools Rush In was never intended as a shop window for new talent's wares. Rather, like the earlier seminal Live at the Roxy WC1 punk document, it was a reminder of a very special club, a few special evenings, and the most fun you ever had being po-faced, pretentious, and arty. And let's face it, we all need to be reminded of that, occasionally.

blue highlight denotes track pick