Kaja

Crazy People's Right to Speak

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Kajagoogoo are best remembered for their 1983 new wave hit "Too Shy" and for being teen pinup idols during their short reign at the top of the charts. It all came crashing down when they canned vocalist Limahl the following year and continued as a quartet with bassist Nick Beggs taking over vocal duties. Their first album sans Limahl was the adventurous Islands, a release that saw them moving away from the mainstream and bringing their considerable musical skills to the fore (the album was not released in the States, although many of the tracks ended up on an album called Extra Play, their first official release without the "googoo" in their name). Whether it was due to a change in direction or the loss of Limahl, Islands didn't perform as well as expected and a change was needed again. Out went drummer Jez Strode and the band officially reverted to the shortened Kaja moniker. With Beggs still up front alongside keyboardist Stuart Neale and guitarist Steve Askew, Kaja released Crazy People's Right to Speak in 1985 in hopes that it would allow them a clean break from the past while still retaining a link to their earlier commercial success. With healthy doses of funk, jazz, rock, and pop, Kaja came out with all guns blazing on this album. All three bandmembers, once again, proved that they were exceptional musicians capable of blending different musical styles into a cohesive sound. "Do I," "Your Appetite," "Charm of a Gun," and "Afraid of You" were heavier than their past work, more Power Station than Duran Duran (their early mentors). "Shouldn't Do That," "Jigsaw," and "Rivers" hark back to Islands, with their radio-friendly pop vibes. Only "Sit Down and Shut Up" fails to go anywhere, although it certainly does try. Kaja were quickly moving toward the sophisticated pop-jazz direction of Level 42 and leaving their teen fan base far behind. The critics, though, would not let them live down the days of odd haircuts and dreamy videos and, sadly, Crazy People's Right to Speak was their swan song. Until their reunion over two decades later, that is.

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