Paul Haig's first solo album proper, after a series of tentative singles and explorations, including what later surfaced as the Swing EP, Rhythm of Life is something of a strained effort, finding Haig coming to grips with his dancefloor aspirations but not quite hitting the bull's-eye. Possibly due to his working with a major label for the first time, possibly due to simply trying to aim for something higher than the cult fascination he had created in Josef K, Haig's efforts generally come across as perfectly functional rather than uniquely memorable. Duran Duran/Thompson Twins producer Alex Sadkin was easily one of the producers of the moment, but his work here was so in the moment that it almost instantly dates, being a series of obvious early-'80s polished funk-pop moments that are occasionally songs rather than elements. Haig did write nearly everything on the album but he often sounds like a guest on his own record -- the exception, besides his singing, being his recognizable guitar parts, though often they are buried in the arrangements. His voice frankly sounds unpleasant as well -- the nagging of the title "Never Give Up (Party, Party)" hardly invites -- while "Justice," the strongest song on the album, comes far too little and too late at the end. The appearance of such figures as Bernie Worrell and Anton Fier speaks of a solid professionalism and that's exactly what the music got -- no less, but no more either, outside of moments like the doom-laden whoosh on "Stolen Love." Perhaps the most memorable thing about the album is the name, which later became that of Haig's continuing imprint, while Haig's abilities in performance and songwriting received much better showcases on later records. LTM's 2004 reissue includes the New York Remix EP, containing five of the songs from the album in the form they were issued in the U.S. -- they're slight improvements at points but not by much.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett