Orange Juice

You Can't Hide Your Love Forever

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After leaving Postcard Records and convincing Rough Trade to finance the sessions, Orange Juice ended up signing to Polydor for their 1982 debut album, You Can't Hide Your Love Forever. Made up of a couple re-recordings of brilliant songs from early singles ("Falling and Laughing," "Felicity"), cleaned-up versions of songs from the demo, and a few new tracks, the album is a slick, tuneful slice of early-'80s pop that's catchy and bright, and only slightly overcooked. Both Edwyn Collins and James Kirk could have retired after this album and been secure in the history books as two of the finest songwriters of the era. Kirk's "Three Cheers for Our Side" and "Felicity" are brilliantly odd and hooky songs that sound unlike anything anyone else was doing at the time; Collins' songs are reliably witty, cutting, and romantic with lovely choruses. "Falling and Laughing" is timeless pop, "Tender Object" is rippingly good dance-punk, his ballads are heartbreaking ("Untitled Melody," "In a Nutshell"), and "Consolation Prize" takes the prize for hilarity ("I wore my fringe like Roger McGuinn's/I was hoping to impress/So frightfully camp it made you laugh/Tomorrow I'll buy myself a dress"). Not too many other folks were writing songs like these, either. Add some excellent guitar interplay between Kirk and Collins and a strong rhythm section to the mix and you've got something that seems hard to mess up. Unfortunately, some of the production choices come close to wrecking things, as the tinkling pianos and backing vocalist can come on a little strong at times. The glossy finish given to the album is also a giant leap from the scrappiness of their early sound, though its effects are lessened by the exuberant energy the band plays and sings with at all times. These criticisms aside, once one accepts that the arty punks Orange Juice started off having fully embraced the sophisticated pop side of the world, then it's easy to see that You Can't Hide Your Love Forever is one of the best examples of early-'80s pop there is. That it's the one and only album the team of Collins and Kirk made before splitting only makes it all the more essential to own.

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