Secret Affair first slid into the U.K.'s consciousness in September 1979 with their exhilarating debut single "Time for Action," which danced its way to number 13 in the charts. Britain was in the grip of a mod revival, spearheaded by the success of the Jam, and Secret Affair were perfectly placed to take advantage of the prevailing mood. Although their follow-up 45, "Let Your Heart Dance," stalled in the lower reaches of the Top 30, their debut album, which included both songs, was eagerly anticipated. Glory Boys didn't disappoint and quieted any sneering suggestions that this new crew of mods were merely Jam wannabes. Of course Secret Affair shared influences with their bigger brethren -- Tamla Motown and British beat bands -- but from them the group fashioned a unique style far removed from the Jam's own. This was partially due to singer Ian Page bringing his trumpet to the proceedings, gracing Affair with a much more genuine retro sound, while also adding further exhilaration to the music. Page's horn solo on "Don't Look Down" (with nods to, of all things, the E Street Band) just cooks -- it also punches up the aforementioned "Dance," and is vital to their cover of the Miracles' "Going to a Go-Go." The Jam were so impressed by the authenticity brass gave to Affair's sound that they promptly began including some on their own records. But of equal importance was Affair's attitude; they reveled in their modness, and their upbeat mood had little in common with Paul Weller's angst and alienation. This stance is clearest on the album's centerpiece, "Glory Boys" itself. A rousing mod-like punk exhortation of mod pride, it immediately became the movement's anthem for parka-clad youth across the nation. Secret Affair had arrived in definite style. The CD reissue appends two bonus tracks to the original album -- the rocking "Soho Strut" and "Sorry, Wrong Number," the closest a mod band could get to Two Tone without using a syncopated beat. Both were previously released as B-sides on "Time for Action" and "Dance," respectively.
Glory Boys Review
by Jo-Ann Greene