Life Is Full Time Occupation

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The second album by Rupert Hine's fake group Thinkman, Life Is a Full Time Occupation expanded the theme of media manipulation that was its main objective, but only halfheartedly. The topic was wearing thin. "Watchman, Walkman, Thinkman," "Willpower," and "Voices in Local Time" do complement well the material found on The Formula (and to a certain extent they could be leftovers). This verse from "Voices in Local Time" sums up the message Hine was trying to get through: "Don't trust in the slogan/Don't fall for the line/They'll be eating your mind." The other songs mostly fall in the category of mid-'80s dance-pop tunes: simple, light, somehow uninvolved. Hine is a careful producer and a good songwriter, so even when he aims low he hits the target, but fans of his usually intelligent (even intellectual) pop will be disappointed by "Never a Tear" and "Dance Yourself Sane," which both sound closer to Thomas Dolby circa Aliens Ate My Buick than vintage Hine. He would strike a better balance for Thinkman's final album, Hard Hat Zone. Chester Kayman and the Fixx's James West-Oram contribute good guitar parts but they are not enough to raise the level of this weaker effort.

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