Review – Select

Select is very much a showcase for the Wilde family and not just a solo effort from the attractive Kim, although obviously she is a bonus. All songs were written by Kim’s daddy, forer pop songster Marty Wilde, and her brother Ricky. Ricky also produced the album and displays a flair for this sort of work, other than some dubious mixing favoritism.

What I particularly like about the album is its surprise package value. It’s difficult to fault Kim Wilde’s vocals, so the success of the set is going to be contingent upon the material, which is varied at the right times. There is a tendency to fall for the synthesizer trap: it is dominant on at least hlf the tracks. But it would be too easy to brand the overall style as familiar and dull. Let’s say it’s stylised in the current pop mode and is perhaps a bit naive. Despite this, there are many plusses on the album. As mentioned, Kim’s vocals are newish in flavor, almost innocent at times. The construction of most of the numbers is also a tribute to the Wildes’ songwriting ability.

Side one begins with ‘Ego’, maybe not the best opening for an Australian market which fondly remembers the heady Skyhooks days and their single of the same name. It is the stylised staccato feel I mentioned above, with a funky bass and syncopated drumming. The pace is fast, much too fast for an early Sunday morning listening in fact. Have a couple of Bacardi’s first. You’ll need them to fortify you for another pacy little number, ‘Words fell down’, which follows. Machine gun drum rolls, but a heavier guitar emphasis, fortunately.

‘Action city’ screams in from the stereo speakers but quickly settles in with a firm back-beat and is very danceable. The frenetic pace of the opening numbers has disappeared to accommodate a steadier feel. ‘View from a bridge’ is the first of the singles to appear. Its phased-time riff and oriental flavor blend into the construction of the number well, but I’m sure readers are already familiar with this track. Nuff said. The first side ends with ‘Just a feeling’, a complete contrast in style to what we have heard thus far. This track is set at a military marching time with approprately pompous instrumentation. Excellent chord changes, layered harmonies and – at last! – a welcome guitar solo. A beauty, too.

The backside contains a pleasing variety of material, but none to really approach the clever ‘Cambodia’ as the albums best track. Like ‘View from a bridge’, readers will be familiar with this number and its distinctive feel. The bonus is a surprise, with some of Ricky Wilde’s best production work emerging. The use of what I suspect to be a Rhodes electric piano (but considering the emphasis on synthesisers already conspicuous on the album, it’s hard to be sure) is just the right touch.

Select has many merits but the major criterica for acceptance is that you have to enjoy the style.