Although many pop fans consider the Records' debut album, Shades in Bed (aka "The Records" in the U.S.), as their best album, it is this album, their sophomore release, that is the ultimate introduction into the band's world of delicious melodies, great lyrics, and perfect harmonies. Commonly referred to as a power pop band, the Records were always so much more than a band of their time: they were a distillation of what came before, what was happening at the time, and where guitar-based bands were headed. With drummer Will Birch providing the lyrics and guitarist/vocalist John Wicks providing the music, the Records had one of the finest songwriting teams of their era, and were certainly equals to Squeeze's Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook (although with a much lower profile). On Crashes, Huw Gower and his over-powering guitar riffing were replaced by the less abrasive strumming of Barry Martin (uncredited) and Jude Cole, who took over a good share of the vocals alongside Wicks. Cole's vocals added a sweet depth and beauty to the songs, and both his and Wicks' vocals blended together to create a perfect Lennon/McCartneyesque harmony that carried the songs to a new level. "Hearts In Her Eyes," the track that Wicks and Birch had written for the Searchers, sounded more intimate in the Records' hands (although the band prefers the Searchers' version over their own!). "Rumour Sets the Woods Alight," which deals with the mysterious death of former Stone Brian Jones, is dark but uplifting pop at its finest. "Hearts Will Be Broken," one of the finest songs on the album, should have been as big as "Starry Eyes," but wasn't. "The Same Mistakes," "Girl in Golden Disc" and "The Worriers" shine with smart lyrics and great melodies. "Spent a Week with You Last Night" could have fit easily on the Beatles' Revolver album. In all, the original release was nearly flawless, although Craig Leon's production left the album sounding flat where the debut seemed to levitate off of the turntable. The CD reissue adds a few non-album tracks including "So Sorry," one of the best B-sides ever -- by anybody! "Vamp" and "Faces at the Window" are great pop treats, as are the early recordings of "The Same Mistakes" and "Man with the Girlproof Heart," both featuring Gower. In all, this is an essential piece of power pop, new wave, or whatever you prefer to classify it as.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Schnee