Pale Fountains

Pacific Street

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The bounciness of the Pale Fountains went penalized in the days of Echo and the Bunnymen and the Smiths. "Optimism -- yuck." Michael Head's stylistic hopscotch and wide-eyed sunnyness might have translated better in the late ‘90s, had he stuck with that program for his later band, Shack. If the band had set their sights on one or two areas of their record collections for inspiration instead of darn near everything, Pacific Street might not have been so out of place when it was released. Bold indeed, the expanded version of Pacific Street (issued by Virgin with four bonus tracks) veers from every angle of ‘70s AM soft rock, stylish soul pop à la Orange Juice (but not as effective), Bacharach/David, and Brazilian jazz. You can imagine Dionne Warwick singing the chorus of "Abergele Next Time"; the non-album single "Palm of My Hand" veers dangerously close to muzak, and the steel drum-and-trumpet combos were more than enough to incite gagging from the pop underground. Too bad. Like the following From Across the Kitchen Table, Pacific Street wasn't able to succeed on the charts, so the too varied and too happy Pale Fountains were left in limbo. For all its faults, the band's debut isn't half bad, and it doesn't sound horribly outdated decades later.

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